The EU has reportedly requested evidence from Russian web company Yandex about the bundling of Google’s services with Android, and how this has impacted vendors’ decisions when launching devices.
Earlier this year, Yandex announced Yandex.Kit, an Android variant which replaces core Google apps with its own alternatives targeting the Russian market. At the time, Explay and Huawei were named as device vendors.
But subsequent reports indicated that Explay had entered into a relationship with Google which meant it had to end its work with Yandex, and instead offer the apps which come as part of Google’s Google Mobile Services (GMS) bundle.
According to GigaOM, Yandex has now said that it is “facing significant difficulties” in its work with device makers, and even though its efforts are limited in some regards, any cooperation puts vendors at risk of a ban from Google.
“The information and materials provided by Yandex will hopefully assist the European Commission in their investigation into the implications of global agreements, primarily as exemplified by the Russian market,” it told the publication.
As far back as 2012, it was reported that Google had forced Acer to cancel a device powered by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s version of Android. This followed a threat that support for the vendor’s wider range of GMS-based devices would be removed by Google, meaning it could not offer full Android products.
In order to receive full Google Android certification, vendors need to meet a number of criteria, including guidelines for app placement and adoption of the full GMS suite.
The issue is becoming increasingly important because Google is moving more and more features out of the Android platform and into GMS. This makes it more difficult to deliver a device powered by the non-Google version of Android (AOSP) due to the additional customisation work required.
It was reported earlier this year that the European authorities had threatened companies that did not assist its investigation into Google’s practices with a fine, after responses to enquires were not forthcoming.