Russia, Google reach USD 7.8 mln settlement on Android case

Dora Pope
April 18, 2017

Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said this counted as an abuse of Google's dominant market position, and for the past two years, it's been investigating and suing over the company's restrictive terms.

Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser for devices now on the market, so that users can choose their default search engine when they next update their system, according to the FAS's statement.

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 dispute arose after Russia-based search company Yandex submitted a complaint to the FAS about Google's practices.

Russian anti-monopoly watchdog FAS and Alphabet Inc's Google have reached an out-of-court settlement in a case over the Android operating system, FAS said on Monday.

Within 60 days after the approval of the settlement agreement, all interested Russian search engines will be able to discuss with Google about any potential conditions of their inclusion to the choice screen next year.

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The regulator ruled in October 2015 that Google violated anti-monopoly rules and should change agreements with mobile-device makers to allow them to pre-install third-party services. Not only is the company being fined $7.8 million United States dollars, but it has agreed to allow the pre-installation of third-party apps. Russian antitrust regulators also fined the company $7.8 million.

If you buy a new Android smartphone or tablet in Russian Federation, you may not see any of Google's standard apps or services on those devices out of the box any more.

"Competition breeds innovation", Volozh writes. This included the exclusivity and priority placement of Google apps as well as the provisions limiting installation of other developers' apps and services. The FAS Russia, driven by the necessity to eliminate consequences of the violation and to restore competition in the market, agreed to sign the settlement agreement.

According to FAS, Google will also have to develop a "Chrome widget" that will replace the standard Google search widget on the Android home screen.

"Google will be committed to securing the rights of the third parties to include their search engines in the choice window".

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