Google has reached a settlement with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) agency in the two year Android antitrust case. In 2015, Russian search rival Yandex had complained that Google was abusing its position in the market by forcing Android devices to pre-install certain apps including its own search tool.
Under the settlement, Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russia and will not restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other applications. For smartphones already sold to Russian residents, Google will develop a pop-up window in the Chrome browser that allows users to change their default browser. The company has also agreed to create a tool that will allow Android device owners to set up a default search engine.
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 million rubles (US$7.8 million). This makes the applications pre-installation channel on mobile devices open for application developers who will get equal rights and opportunities to access the devices on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Google spokesperson said in a statement,
We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia’s competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android.
Igor Artemiev, Head of the FAS Russia said,
Implementation of the settlement’s terms will be an effective means to secure competition between developers of mobile applications. 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.