In addition to not pre-installing third-party app stores, Google’s Premier Device Program also prohibited APK installs of apps, The Verge reported citing new unredacted documents from the Epic vs Google case. This left Android users with only the Google Play Store as the app store marketplace. In the court documents, Epic Games pointed out that this program was not made public earlier as the smartphone makers had to sign a confidentiality .
Unredacted court records from the Epic vs. Google lawsuit disclose a “Premier Device Program” that offers further benefits to smartphone manufacturers. For not including third-party app stores in their handsets, Google granted OEMs a higher revenue share. This deal included almost all of the top Android smartphone brands. Google is said to have offered Android smartphone manufacturers additional incentives to ensure that third-party app shops are not allowed. In early 2019, Google introduced the “Premier Device Program,” which offered smartphone manufacturers a higher percentage of search income in exchange for agreeing not to load third-party app stores on their devices. Google was able to maintain its Play Store monopoly on Android devices in this fashion.
HMD Global is also part of the Premier Device Program with its contract having started in December 2019 and continuing until November 30, 2022. The Finnish company has reportedly committed 100% of its Nokia smartphones to the program. Google’s Premier Device Program included almost all the popular Android OEMs. Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus were also part of the deal with 70% of their devices committed. Companies like Sony and Xiaomi also had their devices committed to this program but only 50% and 40%, respectively. SIMPLY PUT – where we join the dots to inform and inspire you. Sign up for a weekly brief collating many news items into one untangled thought delivered straight to your mailbox.
Smartphone makers that were part of the Premier Device Program received a 12% share of Google’s search revenue. This is in addition to the 8% that they already earn from their partner contract with Google. Companies like LG and Motorola were even offered 3-6% of the revenue that came from player spending in the Google Play Store. Motorola and LG turned out to be one the biggest players here with the former committing 98% of its devices, and the latter 95%.