Russia slaps Google with fines, and Google’s Android shall be opened to Yandex.
This is a fight that seems to have gone on for far too long. The combatants: American based Google, ruling over the “open” Android platform with an iron fist, and Yandex, the Russian search provider attempting to compete in fair trade. Yes. That happened.
Two years ago, Yandex first filed a complaint with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) over Google’s business practices. According to Yandex, Google was being anti-competitive, in that phone makers were forced to pre-install Google’s applications, and exclude other services.
In August of last year, the FAS ruled against Google, fining the company the equivalent of $6.8 million. Google’s response at the time, was a terse “We have received notice of the fine from F.A.S. and will analyze closely before deciding our next steps”. It appears Google finally decided on the next steps.
Google has agreed to a settlement which will allow Yandex access to consumers. Russian customers shall now have a choice upon initial phone setup of choosing their default search engine, with Yandex, of course, being an option. Furthermore, phone makers shall not be forced to Google app exclusivity. Google apps shall still be installed on the phones, however phone makers will now be able to install competing apps if they so choose. This deal did not negate the fines which Google is forced to pay, which have now increased to the equivalent of $7.85 million.
A Google spokesman responded with “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.”