Google has suffered a major setback when it had lost its anti-monopoly appeal and the Russian Court announced it guilty of breaking anti-competition legislation a couple months ago. But, today is another grim day for the tech giant as Russia’s national regulator has fined it with 438 million rubles ($6.75 million).
The fine on Alphabet Inc.’s primary subsidiary Google has been imposed after reviewing a complaint filed by the local search engine Yandex last year. It is for violating anti-trust policies by bundling or pre-loading its suite of apps on Android mobile devices for sale in the country. The total fine, according to local sources, represents about 1 to 15 per cent of Google Play’s domestic sales in the year 2014.
According to a statement received by Bloomberg, Google said that it has received the notification about the fine from Russian regulatory body FAS. The tech giant has also been ordered to change its current agreement with device maker, but Google has appealed the decision. To its statement, it also added,
In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia
The Russian anti-trust service is also continuing its talks with Google for an amicable settlement out of court, according to sources close to the development. They have added that the Mountain View based tech giant will still have to pay the fine imposed in 60 days though.
Google has, however, said that it will study the decision of the regulatory body closely before deciding its next course of action for the case. The two are scheduled to meet for an appeal hearing on August 16.
The case filed by Russia’s (so-called) Google Yandex revolves around the fact Google’s convoluted policy which requires Search, Gmail and other major apps to be pre-installed on the Android operating system. The smartphone manufacturers do not have any say in whether or not their devices come with these applications pre-installed.
While, in theory, Google does not force manufacturers to integrate its applications with their devices. It’s more sort of a forced and twisted decision, where they need to install all apps, if they’re interested in using even one of the aforementioned services. And since the manufacturers cannot skip out on including the Google Play Store on their device, so they usually play nice and ship their phone with a whole bunch of apps pre-installed.
And this doesn’t even allow the competitors to have a chance in the game. The regulators have also complained that the world’s leading software giant didn’t allow third-party services, such as Yandex’s search engine to be pre-installed on its Android software. In terms of market share, Yandex leads in Russia with a search market share of around 60 percent.