Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case
18 April, 2017, 01:34 | Author: Alicia Barber
Google settled with the Federal Antimonopoly Service in Moscow District Court of Arbitration. But this is only possible if those platforms are sufficiently open to foster competition by allowing access to third-party developers.
"Competition breeds innovation", Volozh writes.
The Android home-screen search bar was at the center of a two-year dispute between Google and Russian Federation regulators. The settlement will help eliminate the violations of the antimonopoly legislation previously detected by the FAS Russia and will ensure competition on markets of mobile applications, especially mobile search.
The Russian FAS agency in 2015 found Google was violating competition laws by including its own search tool on the operating system, reports Reuters.
But the FAS had argued that, despite its denials, Google was indeed "prohibiting" rival software to its own YouTube, Maps and Photos apps to be pre-installed alongside its own dominant version of Android.
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While Google never outright required manufacturers to pre-load its apps, its previous rules made it so that companies producing Android-powered phones had to either install all of Google's core apps - Gmail, a browser with Google default search, and, most importantly, the Google Play app store - or none at all.
In addition to paying a $7.8 million fine, Google has agreed to stop preventing phone manufacturers from changing the default search engine to anything but Google. Google noted it continues to work with FAS on technical execution of their orders. Google had been appealing that decision until this week's settlement was reached. Russian antitrust regulators also fined the company $7.8 million.
The settlement included Google agreeing that it remove any restrictions in agreements with manufacturers in the country and must let third party applications, including search engines, appear.
According to FAS, Google will also have to develop a "Chrome widget" that will replace the standard Google search widget on the Android home screen. "With choice, the possibilities are endless", he said. This choice screen enables users to choose Yandex search or Google search or any other search engine of those developers who will sign a commercial agreement on their inclusion to the choice screen.
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