Russia Finds Google Guilty of Breaking Antitrust Law

Antitrust authorities in Russia ruled yesterday that Google violated that country's competition laws. Last year RussiaEUs Yandex search engine filed a complaint with the countryEUs Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) about GoogleEUs practice of pre-installing its own apps on Android smart devices.

The investigation determined that Google was guilty of abusing its dominant market position. The antimonopoly body plans to present Google with its findings and requests within the next 10 days or so.

"In particular, FAS can request to adjust contracts with vendors of mobile devices, excluding such clauses from the agreements that restrict installing applications and services of other developers of such devices," said Alexei Dotsenko, FAS deputy head, in a statement. Administrative hearings on the matter could start as early as next month.

Regular Competition?

Yandex is the largest search engine in Russia. In its lawsuit, the company accused Google of cornering the Russian app market with its own tools, putting companies such as Yandex at a competitive disadvantage. According to the suit, Yandex contended that services focused on users, such as search, maps and e-mail, should be unbundled from GoogleEUs mobile operating system so that other developers can reach their own audiences with variations on those tools.

The complaint also said that a trio of Russian smartphone vendors -- Prestigio, Fly, and Explay -- were prevented in 2014 from adding Yandex services to their Android devices.

About 86 percent of Russia's smartphones are powered by Android. Shares of Yandex stock rose 7 percent after news emerged that the Russian antimonopoly office had confirmed Google's anti-competitive practices. Google could receive a fine of up to 15 percent of its income in Russia.

An antimonopoly service regulator told the Wall Street Journal today that while Google didnEUt necessarily engage in unfair competition practices, his office did find the company guilty of "abusing its dominant...

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