Russia Demands Google Unbundle Android Apps

Last month Google was found guilty by a Russian anti-monopoly watchdog of abusing its dominant market position in that country. Now, the search giant has been given a deadline of November 18 to either mend its ways or face a hefty fine.

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has ordered Google to stop its practice of bundling, or pre-loading its own apps and services on devices running its Android operating system to give them priority over rival products. If the search giant doesn't make the required changes by the deadline it could face a fine of up to 15 percent of the revenue it earned in 2014 from the pre-loaded apps, according to the FAS.

To restore competition on the market, Google must change its agreements with mobile device makers and exclude the anti-competitive clauses that limit the installation of apps and services from other developers by the November 18 deadline, the FAS said.

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The investigation by Russian authorities was put into motion by a complaint from Yandex, RussiaEUs leading search engine. A subsequent probe found Google guilty of anti-competitive practices related to how the company pre-installs its own apps on Android handsets. How the dispute plays out will most likely be watched closely in other countries where Google builds its business capitalizing on the popularity of the Android mobile OS.

Yandex has a greater share of the search market than Google in Russia, but it has watched its lead shrink as more consumers use Android-based devices that are full of applications that compete directly with those made by Yandex.

"Our goal is to return fair play to the market," Yandex said in a statement. "Our position is strong and we intend to defend it in case of appeal at any level. This view is shared by a number of companies outside of...

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