Google gave phone makers extra money to ditch third-party app stores

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Newly unredacted sections of Epic’s antitrust complaint against Google reveal new details on the lengths to which Google went to undermine third-party app stores on the Android platform. According to the new text, starting in 2019, Google ran a “Premier Device Program” that gave Android phone makers a greater share of search revenue than they would normally receive. In exchange, the OEMs agreed to ship their devices without any third-party app stores preinstalled. Specifically, they followed a rule that prohibited “apps with APK install privileges” without Google’s approval, leaving the Play Store as the only built-in digital marketplace for software.

As noted by Leah Nylen, products that qualified as a Premier Device would receive a 12…

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