Russia Orders Google To Change Agreements With Smartphone Makers

Updated on

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service ordered Google to change its agreement with smartphone manufacturers until November 18, 2015.

The decision came after its investigation found that Google forced Russian vendors to preload its apps to Android smartphones and prohibited them from installing the services of other search engine operators.

Last month, the Russian regulator ruled that Google abused its dominant position in the market through its Android operating system. Yandex, a Russian search engine operator, filed a complaint and accused Google of violating antitrust laws to squeeze its market share. Yandex holds 60% of the search market in Russia.

Google must exclude anti-competitive clauses

The Federal Antimonopoly Service said Google must amend its agreements with smartphone manufacturers and eliminate its anti-competitive terms.

Some of the conditions imposed by Google include mandatory installation of its search engine as default, Google Play, and several apps, which are placed in the priority areas on the smartphone’s screen.

Google should amend agreement with smartphone producers within one month by “excluding the anticompetitive clauses to restore competition in the market.” The American search engine giant could face a fine of 1% to 15% of its revenue from services where a violation occurred, according to the Russian regulator.

Yandex was satisfied by the decision of the Russian regulator

In a statement, Yandex expressed satisfaction with the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.

“Our goal is to return fair play to the market – when apps are preinstalled on mobile devices based on how good or how popular they are rather than due to restrictions imposed by the owner of the operating system. That fact that such restrictions have continually been tightening led us to filing a request for investigation with Russia’s Antimonopoly Service,” said Yandex.

Yandex is also hoping that the ruling would “help restore competition on the market.” However, the company noted that the outcome will depend on how the ruling will be implemented.

Yandex suggested that additional measures might be necessary unless the situation changes. “What would solve the problem, as we see it, is an opportunity for users to choose service provider right when they are setting up a new device,” according to the company.

Furthermore, Yandex emphasized that its position against Google is strong and intends to defend it in case the American search engine giant files an appeal at any level. The Russian search engine operator said several companies outside Russia support its position and noted that Google is currently under investigation by the European Commission.

“We believe that with Google’s anticompetitive practices taking place in many countries, the situation has become serious enough to require a comprehensive approach,” said Yandex.

Leave a Comment