Russia, Google reach US$7.8 million settlement on Android case

For the devices that are now circulating on the Russian market, Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser which at the time of the next update will provide the user with the opportunity to choose their default search engine. Google will also drop its requirement of being the only search engine that comes pre-installed on Android devices, and will no longer enforce any existing agreements where manufacturers had agreed to do so.

But the FAS had argued that, despite its denials, Google was indeed "prohibiting" rival software to its own YouTube, Maps and Photos apps to be pre-installed alongside its own dominant version of Android.

The FAS settlement and a separate commercial agreement with Yandex meet the interests of all parties and provide "additional opportunities to promote the Yandex search service in the Chrome browser", Google said in a statement on its website.

In August 2016, FAS fined Google 438 million rubles (over $7.8 million) which was part of the settlement reached on Monday.

Alphabet Inc's Google will open up its popular Android mobile operating system to rival search engines in Russia as part of a deal to settle a two-year dispute with Russian competition authorities.

The court approved the settlement agreement between the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and Google in the Android case.

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As part of the settlement, Google will not be able to insist on the exclusivity of its own apps on Android devices in Russian Federation. The company also can't restrict competing search engines and applications from being preinstalled on Android devices.

In October 2015, Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service ruled that Google violated the country's anti-monopoly laws.

The deal also has wider implications beyond Russian Federation, setting a precedent for cases around the world where governments and companies have complained that Google is abusing its dominant position.

The search engine giant has often used the Play Store as leverage to stop manufacturers from changing the default search engine on an Android device or bundling competing apps.

At the same time, Google will by no means limit or impede pre-installation of other developers' applications on the users' devices.

  • Desiree Holland