When you get a new device, you probably don’t think about the pre-installed apps that are available. Especially those that come from Google, since Google makes Android itself. Of course those apps would be included if Google makes the operating system, right? But things aren’t always so black and white when it comes to which apps get installed before devices are placed in your hands.
Google’s parent company Alphabet pays out billions of dollars to its partners to make sure Google continues to maintain its search and app dominance on certain platforms. Apple receives a hefty cut to make Google the default search engine in Safari and iOS, but Google also pays other Android manufacturers like Samsung and LG to make sure Google Search is on every home screen.
A new report suggests that over the last year, Google has paid out $7.2 billion dollars in these agreements, which is more than three times what the same agreement cost back in 2012. The reasons for this huge increase are secret, but analysts believe Apple is the main culprit for most of the cash with a deal easily worth $3-4 billion a year.
Right now, Google requires any Android phone with Google Play installed to include a suite of Google apps that rotates based on Google’s own interests. Google says that companies enter agreements with them voluntarily, but European anti-trust authorities are investigating whether these agreements are abusive of Google’s position in the market.