Google has managed to get an inevitable fine that Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service was set to impose on the company today deferred, following a similar scenario last month where the fine was deferred until today. Back in September of last year, Google was charged and found guilty by the Russian competition watchdog for violating antitrust laws by making it compulsory for its services to be installed in all Android phones sold in Russia. Google is incidentally fighting a similar accusation in Europe after several attempts to settle the matter came to naught.
The matter came to head back in September when Yandex NV, Google’s largest competitor in Russia, complained to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service that Google was violating antitrust laws. The FAS found that Google was indeed breaking the law and ruled against the company, which Google sought to challenge through an appeal in a court. However, the Russian court upheld the ruling of the FAS in March following which the watchdog decided to impose a penalty on Google. Even though the fine was supposed to be discussed in April, it was postponed until today and has now been postponed further until May 31st. However, given that it is armed with a court ruling, this time, the FAS is expected to impose a hefty fine on Google eventually.
This is not the first time that Google will have to pay up to atone for its antitrust practices and other measures. Back in January, Google settled a long-standing investigation on tax evasion in the UK by paying an equivalent of $185 million to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in back taxes. However, the company is currently under fire in Europe for a similar accusation for which it was charged in Russia. The EU Antitrust Commission has alleged that Google twists its licensing practices to make Android phone manufacturers install its services like the Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, Search, YouTube, and Maps in all phones running the Android operating system. “In short, those tablet and smartphone manufacturers are not free to choose which search engines and which browsers to install. This is not good. It is one of my priorities for consumers to enjoy a wide range of innovative mobile products, services, and platforms,” said Margarethe Vestager, EU’s Antitrust Commissioner. If found guilty, Google may have to pay as much as $7.5 billion to the EU as a fine.