Google takes Android search blow in Russian Federation

Google takes Android search blow in Russian Federation

While Chrome allows users to easily change the search engine, there is no way at the system-level to have easy access to another engine.

Despite the nature of the settlement, Google will still have to pay a 438m rouble ($7.8; £6.2m) fine imposed after it failed to appeal the case last August.

The deputy head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), Alexei Dotsenko, announced the news today, confirming the deal.

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

The complainant party was Russian tech company Yandex, which accused Google of forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Play software on their devices.

Android may be an open operating system, but Google's Android - the version found on most Android devices - doesn't offer as much freedom.

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We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia's competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android. Competition breeds innovation. It's our desire to participate in a market where users can choose the best services available.

Russian regulators first ruled Google's practices a violation of antitrust rules in fall of 2015.

As part of the latter, Google is also developing a tool that will allow users to select the default search engine. Google had been appealing that decision until this week's settlement was reached. These conditions comprised mandatory pre-installation of other Google apps together with Google Play, their preferential placement on the devices' home screen as well as mandatory installment of the Google search engine as default.

The $7.8 million fine is roughly 9 percent of Google's 2014 revenue in Russian Federation.

Google will also develop a new Chrome widget for new devices as a replacement for the standard Google search widget on the home screen.

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