Technology

Google's settled an Android antitrust case with Russian Federation

Google's settled an Android antitrust case with Russian Federation

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its apps on Android devices in Russian Federation.

As part of the latter, Google is also developing a tool that will allow users to select the default search engine.

Android may be an open operating system, but Google's Android - the version found on most Android devices - doesn't offer as much freedom.

The announcement comes after Russian search engine Yandex in February 2015 filed a complaint accusing Google of thwarting competition by requiring Android smartphone manufacturers to ship devices with Google Search by default.

The TASS Russian News Agency added that "The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and US Corporation Google are planning to announce the results of negotiations on a settlement agreement regarding the company abusing its dominant position in the Russian market of mobile application stores on the Android operating system (owned by Google)".

Yandex Arkady Volozh actually put out a statement on the settlement, calling the agreement "an important day for Russian consumers".

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Alexei Dotsenko, FAS deputy head, told reporters that "Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russian Federation and will not restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other applications".

The company will pay a fine of 438 million rubles ($7.8 million) and allow Android phone makers to pre-install third-party services such as Yandex, including on the first screen, as part of the settlement approved by Moscow District Arbitration Court, Aleksey Dotsenko, the antitrust regulator's deputy head, told reporters. Google had been appealing the decision prior to the recent settlement.

In addition to paying a $7.8 million fine, Google has agreed to stop preventing phone manufacturers from changing the default search engine to anything but Google.

Should the European Union investigation go against Google, it could be fined up to $7.4 billion, the equivalent of 10 percent of its global revenue. This choice screen enables users to choose Yandex search or Google search or any other search engine of those developers who will sign a commercial agreement on their inclusion to the choice screen. This move will make room for apps like the the local Russian search engine Yandex NV. FAS said that Google's policy restricted installation of applications by other developers.

"We managed to find a balance between the necessity to develop the Android ecosystem and interests of third-party developers for promoting their mobile applications and services on Android-based devices. The settlement's execution will have a positive effect on the market as a whole, while giving developers additional options for promoting their products".


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