Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in the ongoing antitrust trial against the search giant this week. So far, the testimony has revealed several interesting tidbits, like how Pichai pitched Apple CEO Tim Cook on a pre-installed Google Search app.
Another new tidbit detailed in The Verge‘s overview of Pichai’s testimony was how Google leverages revenue-sharing agreements with manufacturers who make Android phones to force them to update their phones.
Pichai explained that Google ties some of its revenue share agreements with manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and others to security updates. In other words, manufacturers stand to lose out on some money if they don’t push security updates. According to Pichai, “more effort goes into developing the next version, and updates are costly… so sometimes [manufacturers] make tradeoffs.”
We already know about various tools Google uses to manage Android, including requiring Android devices to ship Google as the default search provider in order to get important parts of the Android system like the Play Store and Play Services. But this new information about a revenue-sharing deal sheds some light on Android’s often mediocre update situation.