After Google was recently fined around $7 million by a Russian court following allegations of misuse of its position as the dominant platform manufacturer, an appellate court has rejected the search giant’s appeal against the decision. Google had based its appeal on the fact that manufacturers could install their own preferred applications on the devices they were putting together.
The case stems from an appeal by Yandex — Google’s rival in the Russian market — which had argued that letting Google force OEMs load their devices with applications like Google Maps, YouTube etc. was in breach of local, anti-monopoly rules. The case was finally decided in the courts, where a fine of 438M RUB (around $6.7 Million) was imposed upon the U.S. search giant by Russia’s Federal Anti Monopoly Service (FAS).
Google decided to appeal against the court ruling, basing its argument on the fact that manufacturers could chose to develop their own versions of the Android platform and pre-install applications of their own choosing. However, the appeal was rejected by the courts of law.
Meanwhile, the decision to reject Google’s appeal was welcomed by local competitor Yandex, which termed itself as “satisfied with today’s Moscow Arbitration Tribunal decision.” The company now has to pay the $6.7 Million sum mentioned in the fine or knock the doors of the court again — unless it wants to attract further fines its way.
Previously, Elena Zaeva, the Head of FAS Department for Regulation of Communications and Information Technologies had said,
We are convinced that executing the determination will enable competition development on the market of mobile software in Russia, which will have a favourable effect for consumers. All companies that supply products to the Russian Federation – including transnational corporations – must observe the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition.
Russia is not the only location where Google has been running into trouble with authorities over some of its policies. The company is facing similar trouble with the European commission as well — all because of the nature of its policies. The company has made a policy out of forcing Original equipment manufacturers to install several trademark, Google-backed applications such as Maps, YouTube etc. into their Android devices. This has been a traditional way of netting it millions of new users.
However, the policies are now increasingly being questioned as coming under the illegal use of Google’s privileged position as the developer of the World’s most widely used smartphone platform. Europe and Russia are among some of the places where the complaints have been most vocal. Meanwhile, Google should do better to take the recent decisions as a warning.
While the fines imposed by the Russian courts may appear to be bad enough, they are quite paltry as compared to what the European commission may be cooking up for the company. Apparently, the company may face financial repercussions of up to 10 percent of its annual turnover — or around $7.5 Billion — should the European regulatory bodies decide that Google isn’t doing all it should to correct its stance on predatory use of its privileges.