A long-running dispute between Google and Russia’s antimonopoly watchdog has now reached some level of closure, as Google has now reportedly arrived at an out-of-court settlement with Russia regarding the tech company’s Android OS. The deputy head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), Alexei Dotsenko, announced the news today, confirming the deal. While Google has reportedly said in response that the interests of both parties have been satisfied, further corroborating that a deal has indeed been reached.
As part of the settlement, Google will not be able to insist on the exclusivity of its own apps on Android devices in Russia. In addition, Google will not be able to demand that other competing search engines and apps cannot be installed. Furthermore, the giant tech company must offer a tool that will enable users to select the default search engine of their own choice on Android-based smartphones and tablets.
The Russian company Yandex, who is likely to be one of the big beneficiaries of this deal (as it often referred to as the 'Google of Russia'), saw its Nasdaq-listed shares rise in early trading. Offering similar services to Google in Russia, Yandex has faced difficulties increasing its mobile search market share in the country. The long-standing disagreement began several years ago when the initial claims by Yandex surfaced, with Yandex claiming that the demand for pre-installation of Google’s own apps on Android-run devices was unfair. Stating that device manufacturers wanting to install the Google Play Store also had to pre-install other Google services, as well as setting Google as the default search engine. At the same time, the Russian multinational tech company complained that Google had blocked long-standing partners such as Explay, Fly, and Prestigion from installing Yandex software on their devices. Back in 2015, the FSA backed Yandex by agreeing that Google’s demands were an abuse of the company’s standing in the market. The earlier verdict was then upheld and in August last year, Google was handed a $7.8 million fine. The FAS says this fine still stands despite the new settlement being reached. According to the details, an agreed time period of six years and nine months applies to the settlement.