Google agrees to open Android to other search engines in Russian Federation


Under the settlement, the company can not enforce agreements with phone makers requiring them to preinstall Google's apps along with its Google Play store on Android devices and prohibiting them from preinstalling competitors' apps, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said.

While Android is an open platform, core parts of the operating system aren't, including Google's app store.

In August 2016, FAS imposed a 438 million rouble ($7.8 million) fine on Google which the company still has to pay after reaching the settlement, FAS said.

Google was hit with an anticompetitive lawsuit in Russian Federation over forcing its own search engine as default for Android phones sold with Google Services.

The Moscow-based company had accused the search giant's parent, Alphabet, of undermining competition by forcing phone makers to preinstall a set bundle of Google apps on Android.

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Yandex's chief executive Arkady Volozh declared the settlement "an important day for Russian consumers".

Google reported that, in addition to an amicable agreement with Russia's anti-trust regulator, it entered into a commercial agreement with the Yandex company. In time, FAS imposed additional fines against Google, amounting to almost 1 million rubles in total. While Google has reportedly said in response that the interests of both parties have been satisfied, further corroborating that a deal has indeed been reached. The main complaint was that other search engines like Yandex were being pushed out.

Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser for devices now on the market, so that users can choose their default search engine when they next update their system, according to the FAS's statement.

The deal also makes it possible for other applications to be pre-installed on Android devices 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.