Google falls foul of Russian competition watchdog

Google falls foul of Russian competition watchdog

15 SEP 2015

Russia accused Google of “abusing market dominance” in its Android activities, following a complaint from domestic search giant Yandex.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) case concerned availability of the Google Play app store to vendors only as part of a package including other Google products, with mandatory positioning on device homepages.

It said that actions taken by the company also resulted in “prohibiting pre-instalment of applications of vendors”.

While Android is essentially open-source, the key apps and services which are built on top are not. And in order to gain access to key apps such as Google Maps or the Google Play store, vendors need to enter into an agreement with the search giant which includes conditions related to app preinstallation and positioning.

Yandex has offered its own take on Android, with its apps and services replacing those of Google, and with vendors named as supporters. However, it was subsequently reported that these device makers had come under pressure from Google not to support the alternative offering.

Although Yandex still has a 57.3 per cent share of the Russian search market (according to the company’s Q2 2015 figures), this has been on the slide due to the increasing use of mobile search which, on Android devices, has given Google a boost.

Google is also subject to an EU investigation into whether its Android activities breached antitrust rules. It was reported that Yandex had been contacted as part of the process.

Violations of the clause in question can lead to fines “from one hundredth to fifteen hundredths of the income gained by the violator from selling goods (works, services) on the market where the violation was committed”.

FAS has terminated one investigation, related to unfair competition, due to the absence of violations of the antimonopoly law in the actions analysed during the investigation.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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