Following a complaint from Russia’s search giant Yandex, the nation’s antitrust authority urged Google to unbundle its own apps from Android devices. Regulators concluded that the U.S. search giant acted against the Russian law when it prohibited competitors to preinstall their search apps on Android handsets.
Yandex, which owns more than 60 percent of web search market for desktop in Russia, saw heavy losses when Google decided to set as default and only search engine on Android device its own search engine.
Google was granted a deadline, November 18, to stop the practice.
On the other hand, Google never stopped anyone from downloading a different search engine from Play Store, but due to its popularity it really doesn’t have to, Yandex argues.
The Russian search giant argued that the U.S. tech company already has a dominant position on the mobile market, so the policy is an abuse of power. Additionally, if handset makers decide to make devices without Play Services, there’s no way competition could reach mobile users.
Recently, Google draw fire for the European Union antitrust officials, too, on a similar issue. In April, E.U. officials opened a new investigation into the company’s business practices.
In the U.S., a group of competitors including Microsoft Corp. asked the FTC to investigate Google’s back deals with Android handset makers. Critics, however, said that the case doesn’t have a solid ground because Apple has a strong position on North America’s smartphone market. The FTC closed another investigation on Google’s search practices two years ago.
In Russia, Android holds the dominant position, with 65 percent of mobile devices in the country running Google’s mobile operating system. But the Russians are not pleased. Rumors have it that Kremlin ordered developers to build a national mobile operating system.
Russia’s antitrust agency recently said that Google needs to “adjust the agreements” with handset manufacturers to allow competition’s apps and services to be installed on the devices, rather than keeping Google’s services as default. The measure was taken to “restore competition in the market,” the agency added.
Google couldn’t be reached for comment. If it fails to comply with Russian requests it may risk a hefty fine. The sum may involve up to 15 percent of the revenue generated by Google’s preinstalled apps and services. According to a recent report, Google’s revenue in Russia is about $560 million, or one percent of overall revenues.
Yandex told reporters that it was ‘satisfied’ with the agency’s ruling.
Image Source: Pixabay
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