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Google Settles Russian Android Antitrust Case For $7.8 Million

Google Settles Out of Court with Russia Over Android

Russian users didn't have the option of changing to a different search engine on those phones.

USA technology firm Google has agreed to pay 438 million rubles (nearly $8 million) in fines for antitrust violations in the Russian mobile applications market.

According to Reuters, the agreement also allows Android products in Russian Federation the freedom to pre-install rivals to Google's search engine.

"Today is an important day for Russian consumers as Google has agreed to take significant steps that open up its Android platform in Russia", Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh wrote in a blog post.

In October 2015, Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service ruled that Google violated the country's anti-monopoly laws.

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.

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.

To restore competition, the FAS Russia issued a prescription to Google in order to require the company to remove anti-competitive restrictions from its agreements with manufacturers. Google will also drop its requirement of being the only search engine that comes pre-installed on Android devices, and will no longer enforce any existing agreements where manufacturers had agreed to do so.

The $7.8 million fine is roughly 9 percent of Google's 2014 revenue in Russian Federation. This move will make room for apps like the the local Russian search engine Yandex NV. Google had been appealing the ruling prior to the settlement. Any developer that signs a "commercial agreement" with Google can be included - Yandex is the first to sign up.

At the same time, Google will by no means limit or impede pre-installation of other developers' applications on the users' devices.