Google settles Russian antitrust case over default Android apps

18 April, 2017, 03:03 | Author: Randy Kelley
  • Arkady Volozh Yandex founder and CEO

The Russian antitrust watchdog said the settlement will help eliminate Google's violations of the antimonopoly legislation and will ensure competition in the market for mobile applications particularly mobile search.

She past year claimed Google required other smartphone makers to pre-install its search and browser apps and that it also stopped them from selling devices running on competing operating systems and claims that they were handed "financial incentives" by Google to put only Google's search on devices. Google will also drop its requirement of being the only search engine that comes pre-installed on Android devices, and will no longer enforce any existing agreements where manufacturers had agreed to do so.

The search engine giant has often used the Play Store as leverage to stop manufacturers from changing the default search engine on an Android device or bundling competing apps.

Now the search giant has settled, agreeing to pay a $7.8 million fine as well as allowing phone manufacturers to choose any default search engine.

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Google "will be obliged not to restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications" on its Android operating system in Russian Federation, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said on its website on Monday. Some believe that the devices are Google's and the company has a right to set its own search engine as default, while others believe Google should open up Android to allow for more competition so Google can't use its market position to push its own services above others.

"Rival search engines and mobile operating systems have not been able to compete on their merits". Google is battling against similar anti-trust cases in the European Union, where BT recently took the search giant's side.

Google was hit with an anticompetitive lawsuit in Russian Federation over forcing its own search engine as default for Android phones sold with Google Services.

The FAS Russia imposed a fine on Google for violating Article 10 of the Federal Law "On Protection of Competition" in the amount of 438,067,400 roubles. The search engine giant will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser on the next update on devices now circulating in the Russian market. Any developer that signs a "commercial agreement" with Google can be included - Yandex is the first to sign up. "The settlement's execution will have a positive effect on the market as a whole, while giving developers additional options for promoting their products", - summarized Igor Artemiev, Head of the FAS Russia.

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