Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

Posted April 18, 2017

MOSCOW, Russia - April 17, 2017 - On April 17, 2017, the two-year legal process between the Federal Antimonopoly Service and Google ended up with a voluntary settlement in the Moscow District Court of Arbitration.

Under the settlement, Google can not stop smartphone makers from pre-installing competing search engine apps on their devices.

Google and Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog agreed to settle a two-year-long disagreement over Google's Android software.

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While Android is an open platform, core parts of the operating system aren't, including Google's app store.

The $7.8 million fine is roughly 9 percent of Google's 2014 revenue in Russian Federation.

The announcement comes after Russian search engine Yandex in February 2015 filed a complaint accusing Google of thwarting competition by requiring Android smartphone manufacturers to ship devices with Google Search by default.

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The Web giant in a statement to Engadget said it is "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". The FAS Russia, driven by the necessity to eliminate consequences of the violation and to restore competition in the market, agreed to sign the settlement agreement.

The FAS settlement and a separate commercial agreement with Yandex meet the interests of all parties and provide "additional opportunities to promote the Yandex search service in the Chrome browser", Google said in a statement on its website.

The deal also has wider implications beyond Russian Federation, setting a precedent for cases around the world where governments and companies have complained that Google is abusing its dominant position. While Chrome allows users to easily change the search engine, there is no way at the system-level to have easy access to another engine.

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