A 2-year battle with Russian authorities has been settled by Google for $7.8m, and the company will also have to open up Android to rival search engines and apps in the country. This is a new precedent for Google, which has not permitted the pre-installation of rival search engines and certain apps on to Android until now. Couple years ago, Russia’s competition authority ruled that Google was breaking the law and abusing its dominant position through restrictions on third-party manufacturers.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia said that the Android maker mustn’t demand exclusivity of its apps on Android devices sold in the country and cannot restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other apps. The tech giant will also have to develop a tool enabling users to choose the default search engine. The European Commission forced Microsoft put a similar measure in place for browser choice on Windows.
Russian search engine Yandex, the most popular in the country, was the one who filed the original complaint. Now Yandex and Google have reached a commercial agreement that would allow Yandex to promote its search service within Google’s Chrome. The deal is for a term of 6 years and 9 months and was approved by a Russian arbitration court. However, Google will still have to pay about $7.8m in fines.
It must be mentioned that a year ago, the European Commission filed charges against Google for abusing its dominant position with Android. This investigation can carry fines up to 10% of Google’s global revenue. While the company denied the charges, the Russian settlement may have a knock-on effect on Google’s battle with the EC.