On 17th April 2017, Google agreed to a settlement with the antimonopoly agency of Russia that will allow Android manufacturers to set the default search engine to other search engines than Google’s own.
Google also had to pay a fine worth $7.8 million as a result of this settlement. Google is, now, not allowed to prevent other company apps from coming pre-installed on the mobile devices that use its Android OS. Up till now, Google has had the power to influence manufacturers that use its Android OS.
Even though the software is open source, some of its key components are not. These include the Google App Store. So if a manufacturer wants its devices to have access to the Google App Store, it would have to follow strict conditions imposed by Google to do so. And not many can opt out of it, as the Android phones won’t be much without the millions of apps on the App Store.
This was under investigation by Federal Antimonopoly Service as a result of a complaint by Yandex, one of Russia’s leading search companies. Not only is Yandex a major winner in the settlement, but it will now be allowed to have its own search engine pre-installed on the mobile phones that use Google’s Android OS.
Yandex Arkady Volozh stated that this is “an important day for Russian consumers” and thanked Google “for recognizing the value of openness”. Volzoh wrote “Competition breeds innovation. It’s our desire to participate in a market where users can choose the best services available.”
Google Chrome app will now allow a choice of browsers for consumers, Yandex is obviously the first to sign up. A Google Spokesperson has stated that:
We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia’s competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android.
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