Russia, Google reach $7.8M deal on Android case

Apr 18, 2017, 01:30
Russia, Google reach $7.8M deal on Android case

It brings to an end a long-running battle between the USA firm and Russia's competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

The devices running Android now being used in the Russian Federation territory will receive a "selection Window" for the Chrome browser after the next software update that will give users a choice to change their setting to run another search engine. The Google search bar will be replaced with a Chrome widget and Russian search engines will be able to appear on the screen.

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 complainant party was Russian tech company Yandex, which accused Google of forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Play software on their devices.

The agreement was announced today by Alexei Dostenko, deputy head of Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, according to Russian news reports.

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Yandex Arkady Volozh actually put out a statement on the settlement, calling the agreement "an important day for Russian consumers".

The search engine giant also required manufacturers to pre-install Google search engine as default, Google Play and other Google apps with preferential placement on the home screen of the devices. The amount of the fine consists of 9% of company's turnover on the Russian market in 2014 plus inflation.

Google would preload its own apps, including the search engine, on phones running Android. Google had been appealing the ruling prior to the settlement. 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.

Google will also develop a new Chrome widget for new devices as a replacement for the standard Google search widget on the home screen.

"Implementation of the settlement's terms will be an effective means to secure competition between developers of mobile applications. The settlement's execution will have a positive effect on the market as a whole, while giving developers additional options for promoting their products", he said.