Google built the Android operating system based on an open source and free distribution model. But a statement in a blog post written by Google CEO Sundar Pichai referencing the European Union’s $5 billion antitrust fine could suggest a different future for the OS.
“So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model,” Pichai wrote in a post published today.
Did Pichai imply Google would move to a closed model and charge companies for using its operating system?
Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software. In 2017, IDC estimated Android is used on about 2 billion devices per month, or 89% of mobile devices overall.
Google founders Larry Page and Surgey Brin built the company’s model — software and code — on the value of an open-source community.
Google has held a dominate position in organic and paid search for years. But a model that would require mobile handset manufacturers to pay to put the Android OS on their devices could change the entire balance of mobile search.
It would also impact Google’s ability to target ads and collect data about the users of its services.
“We have no further comment,” wrote a Google spokesperson in an email to Search Insider.
Would phone manufacturers pay to use the Android operating system? If so, how much would they pay? Would such a model open the door for other OS developers to convince handset makers like Samsung to put their system on the phone?
While Android tops the list of the most-used mobile phone operating system, there are others, such as iOS, Private OS, Linux-based Sailfish OS, Series 40 from Nokia, Windows OS from Microsoft, Blackberry OS, Symbian, Tizen OS, Plasma mobile OS, and more.