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CrAKeN

Google Opens Android to Search Rivals in Russia

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CrAKeN    1,481
CrAKeN

512737-100-best-android-apps.jpg?thumb=y

 

Google settles antimonopoly lawsuit in Russia, pays $7.85 million in fines, and promises not to restrict rival search engines on Android.

 

Google's two-year antitrust battle with Russian competition authorities is finally coming to an end.

 

Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) on Monday announced a settlement with the US search giant, under which Google will open its Android mobile operating system to rival search engines in Russia.

 

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. Russian officials later that year found Google guilty of violating the country's antimonopoly law by favoring its own services over rivals like Yandex.

 

As part of today's settlement, "Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russia," FAS said. Plus, "Google will be obliged not to restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications."

 

Google is also developing a new Chrome widget that will present Russian Android users with a "choice screen" so they can select their preferred default search engine. "Users will be able to change settings at any time and choose the default search engine which suits their needs," FAS said.

 

Yandex is, of course, pleased with the settlement.

 

"Today is an important day for Russian consumers as Google has agreed to take significant steps that open up its Android platform in Russia," Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh wrote in a blog post. "Under the terms of the settlement, 55 million Russian Android users will be offered a choice of search engines on their mobile devices. Smartphone manufacturers will also have more freedom to select the apps that they preinstall on devices."

 

As part of the settlement, Google will pay 439 million roubles (around $7.85 million) in fines.

 

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment. The Web giant in a statement to Engadget said it is "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."

 

Meanwhile, Google is facing similar charges in Europe.

 

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