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Google Opens Android to Search Rivals in Russian Federation

Google Opens Android to Search Rivals in Russian Federation”

Under the settlement, the company can not enforce agreements with phone makers requiring them to preinstall Google's apps along with its Google Play store on Android devices and prohibiting them from preinstalling competitors' apps, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said. As a result, due to refusals in regards to other manufacturers of mobile devices, pre-installation of mobile applications, which is the most efficient app distribution channel, was fully reserved by Google.

The deal with Russian Federation s anti-monopoly service (FAS) came after Yandex, the country s biggest search engine, complained Google had an unfair advantage by pre-loading its search engine on Android phones.

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

Alexei Dotsenko, FAS deputy head, told reporters that "Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russian Federation and will not restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other applications". That's allowed Google to set strict conditions for any phone manufacturer that wants to build a phone with access to the Play Store's millions of apps.

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In addition to paying a $7.8 million fine, Google has agreed to stop preventing phone manufacturers from changing the default search engine to anything but Google.

Russian regulators first ruled Google's practices a violation of antitrust rules in fall of 2015. In time, FAS imposed additional fines against Google, amounting to almost 1 million rubles in total. It also said it had reached a commercial agreement with Yandex that "provides new opportunities for Yandex to promote its search service within Chrome (internet browser)". Google had been appealing the decision prior to the recent settlement.

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According to FAS, Google will also have to develop a "Chrome widget" that will replace the standard Google search widget on the Android home screen. Google has "reached a commercial agreement" with Yandex to allow the Russian search company to partner with OEMs. "Now millions of Russian Android users will be offered a choice of search engines on their mobile devices".



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