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Russia's biggest search engine beats Google in antitrust case

18 April 2017

Google will allow Android phone makers to pre-install third-party services such as Yandex, including on the first screen, as part of the agreement approved by Moscow District Arbitration Court, Dotsenko said.

Google's antitrust battle with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) led by Russian search rival Yandex came to a close Monday with the Mountain View, California company reaching an out-of-court deal.

Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh called the settlement "an important day for Russian consumers" as "millions of Russian Android users will be offered a choice of search engines".

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

Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said this counted as an abuse of Google's dominant market position, and for the past two years, it's been investigating and suing over the company's restrictive terms. Google noted it continues to work with FAS on technical execution of their orders.

The FAS Russia imposed a fine on Google for violating Article 10 of the Federal Law "On Protection of Competition" in the amount of 438,067,400 roubles.

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Google faces a similar tussle with regulators in the European Union, where competition chief Margrethe Vestager believes it broke competition rules.

In Reuters report on this story today they've added that "As part of the agreement, Google will also develop a tool allowing users to choose a default search engine on their Android devices". The agreement was signed for six years and nine months.

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.

This makes the applications pre-installation channel on mobile devices open for application developers who will get equal rights and opportunities to access the devices on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Yandex particularly took issue with the default search engine stipulation.

"Implementation of the settlement's terms will be an effective means to secure competition between developers of mobile applications", said FAS head Igor Artemiev.

Russia's biggest search engine beats Google in antitrust case