Google Settles Russian Antitrust Case on Android Phones

As part of the settlement, Google will pay 439 million roubles (around $7.85 million) in fines.

While Google never outright required manufacturers to pre-load its apps, its previous rules made it so that companies producing Android-powered phones had to either install all of Google's core apps - Gmail, a browser with Google default search, and, most importantly, the Google Play app store - or none at all.

The FAS in September 2015 considered Google in breach of a competition law after the complaint by Yandex of the competitive advantage for Google on Android phones.

The Android home-screen search bar was at the center of a two-year dispute between Google and Russian Federation regulators.

As part of the agreement, Google will also develop a tool allowing users to choose a default search engine on their Android devices. Today Google's Android is in the spotlight in Russia.it's being reported that Russian anti-monopoly watchdog FAS and Alphabet Inc's Google have reached an out-of-court settlement in a dispute over the tech giant's Android operating system, FAS said on Monday.

To restore competition, the FAS Russia issued a prescription to Google in order to require the company to remove anti-competitive restrictions from its agreements with manufacturers. Yandex now holds a 55 percent share of the search market in Russian Federation, while Google clings to a 40 percent share.

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The devices running Android now being used in the Russian Federation territory will receive a "selection Window" for the Chrome browser after the next software update that will give users a choice to change their setting to run another search engine.

In a few months, Google will create for new devices in Russian Federation a new Chrome widget that will replace the current Google search widget on the home screen.

Google also made a commitment to secure the rights of third-parties by allowing the inclusion of their search engines in the choice window. "With choice, the possibilities are endless", he said.

Users will be able to change settings at any time and choose the default search engine which suits their needs.

A Russian court approved the settlement agreement on Monday. "The settlement's execution will have a positive effect on the market as a whole, while giving developers additional options for promoting their products", - summarized Igor Artemiev, Head of the FAS Russia.

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