Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

Elbert EdwardsApr 18, 2017

Google will pay 438 million rubles (US$7.8 million) and will stop requiring its apps be preloaded on Android smartphones in Russian Federation, in an antitrust settlement with the country's Federal Antimonopoly Service.

Android may be an open operating system, but Google's Android - the version found on most Android devices - doesn't offer as much freedom. Under the terms of the agreement, Google will still have to pay a total of 439 million roubles ($7.85 million) in fines.

Following a 2015 ruling of anti-monopoly behavior involving Android, Google has settled with Russia's regulatory agency in an out-of-court deal.

Google also made a commitment to secure the rights of third-parties by allowing the inclusion of their search engines in the choice window. It should enable Yandex to reach commercial agreements with mobile-phone makers and expand its share of search on Android devices in Russian Federation, he said.

Yandex particularly took issue with the default search engine stipulation.

FAS also imposed the fine for abuse of market dominating position in the amount of 438 mln rubles (US$7.8 mln).

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

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

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

For Android devices already in use in Russia, Google will work out a way for consumers to choose a default search engine after an update via a new widget that will be developed, the watchdog said. Russian users didn't have the option of changing to a different search engine on those phones.

"We managed to find a balance between the necessity to develop the Android ecosystem and interests of third-party developers for promoting their mobile applications and services on Android-based devices".

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