Google reaches $7.8M settlement with Russian Federation in antitrust case

Google reaches $7.8M settlement with Russian Federation in antitrust case


"Today is an important day for Russian consumers as Google has agreed to take significant steps that open up its Android platform in Russia", said Arkady Volozh, Chief Executive Officer of Yandex. Smartphone manufacturers also will have more freedom to select the apps they preinstall on devices.

FAS issued the penalty in November 2015, and Google has now lost all of its appeals in the Russian courts. It will develop a Chrome widget for new devices within a few months to allow users to choose their preferred search engine on first use.

The deal sets a new precedent for the tech giant, which faces multiple complaints worldwide that it is abusing its dominant position by imposing restrictions on manufacturers of Android-based devices in order to protect its share of the online search market. The amount of the fine consists of 9% of company's turnover on the Russian market in 2014 plus inflation. Yandex will now be able to reach agreements with phone manufacturers to have its search engine preinstalled on Android phones, which can slow Google's expansion in Russian Federation and bolster its own.

In August past year, Russian authorities slapped a 438 million ruble ($6.75m) fine on Google, concluding that the company was "forcing its partners to feature its services".

"We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia's competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android", a spokeswoman for Google told the BBC.

Google also made a commitment to secure the rights of third-parties by allowing the inclusion of their search engines in the choice window.

"Users will be able to change settings at any time and choose the default search engine which suits their needs", FAS said. "The settlement's execution will have a positive effect on the market as a whole, while giving developers additional options for promoting their products", - summarized Igor Artemiev, Head of the FAS Russia.

  • Terrell Bush