Google search engine monopoly on Android in Russian Federation to end

Arkady Volozh Yandex founder and CEO

"Under the terms of the settlement, 55 million Russian Android users will be offered a choice of search engines on their mobile devices".

In August previous year, Russian authorities slapped a 438 million ruble ($6.75m) fine on Google, concluding that the company was "forcing its partners to feature its services".

Alphabet Inc's Google will open up its popular Android mobile operating system to rival search engines in Russia as part of a deal to settle a two-year dispute with Russian competition authorities.

"Today is an important day for Russian consumers as Google has agreed to take significant steps that open up its Android platform in Russia", Arkady Volozh, Yandex's chief executive, said in a statement.

In the early 2000s, Yandex requested the FAS initiate an investigation into Google's business practices, and in 2015 the organization found Google's practices to be anti-competitive and in violation of Russian antitrust 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.

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The anti-trust case was originally filed by Yandex, who claimed that Google violated Russia's competition rules.

Should the European Union investigation go against Google, it could be fined up to $7.4 billion, the equivalent of 10 percent of its global revenue.

Google faces a similar tussle with regulators in the European Union, where competition chief Margrethe Vestager believes it broke competition rules. Any developer that signs a "commercial agreement" with Google can be included - Yandex is the first to sign up.

Google has also agreed to soon offer a "Chrome widget" that will let Android users in Russian Federation choose a default search engine aside from Google.

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

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