Google has been known for paying top dollar to get its features exclusively on devices. At the end of last year, for example, it was revealed that Google was paying Apple about $12 billion a year to become the exclusive search provider on iPhones and iPads.
Epic’s antitrust complaint against Google reveals in newly unredacted sections that Google kicked off a “Premier Device Program” in 2019. Android device manufacturers part of the program received a greater share of search revenue than they would normally receive from Google.
In return, Android device makers committed to shipping their devices with Play Store as the only app store on the device (basically agreeing to not offer third-party app stores out of the box).
The extra share amounts to four percent; manufacturers who agreed to the terms would receive 12 percent share instead of the normal eight percent offered.
“Google sweetened the deal further for companies like LG and Motorola, offering them between 3 and 6 percent of what customers spent in the Google Play Store on their devices“, The Verge notes.
By May 2020, many of the world’s largest and most popular Android OEMs had agreed to Google Play exclusivity for most of their new Android devices. Motorola and LG both committed nearly all (98 percent and 95 percent) of their devices to the Premier program. The giant Chinese conglomerate BBK — which manufactures and sells a range of Android devices under its OPPO, Vivo, and OnePlus brands, among others, had designated around 70 percent of its new devices as “Premier.”
Epic argues — also revealed by the unredacted segments — that these Google Premier Program practices tipped the scales dramatically against third-party Android app stores, even if manufacturers like Sony and Xiaomi only committed 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively, to the Program.
Source: The Verge