Google probably has more issues to deal with than its rivals. Apparently, the European Union is not the only body that has scores to settle with Google—Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has slammed a fine of $6.75 million on the tech giant for violating its antitrust rules on mobile phones and tablets, per Softpedia.
Google’s problem with the FAS began in 2015 when Yandex (Russia’s version of Google, and one of the biggest search engines in the world) filed a complaint against it. The Russian search giant was unhappy with Google’s requirement for both tablet and smartphone for manufacturers to install Search, Maps, and other services as part of Google Play Store package.
However, this is not an issue that affects Yandex alone, as complaints have been lodged by other companies against what they termed as unfair monopoly on the part of Google.
Following complaints filed by Yandex, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service issued Google a one-month ultimatum last October to get rid of apps from phones—an order in which the company failed to comply with. Google’s reason for not complying with the order was based on how revenue generated from ads from its services helps it to cover costs of offering its popular Android operating system to users at no cost.
In a bid to force Google’s hands and ensure it complies with its order, the FAS has slammed a fine of $6.75 on the company. The search giant has filed an appeal to stop the Russian antitrust body from enforcing the fine, and the hearing has been scheduled for August 16.
Most Android phones all over the world come pre-installed with Google apps—limiting the ability of a competitor like Yandex from competing on a level playing field. Yandex controls 60 percent of Russia’s market share, which by every standard makes it the biggest player in that part of the country. This, perhaps, explains why the company is desperate to end Google’s monopoly of apps on mobile phones.
Android’s 70 percent dominance of the mobile OS gives Yandex much to worry about. Consumers have access to loads of Google products and services since they spend more time on their mobile phones running on Android. This gives Yandex much to worry about, since more searches will be done using Google search.
Google’s appeal couldn’t have been filed based on the FAS fine alone—but to also fight against the order asking it to remove its apps from the Android OS.
Last April, Margarethe Vestager, the European Commission’s antitrust commissioner said the antitrust body was “closely” monitoring Google’s contract with carriers and mobile manufacturers. Vestager’s concern was aimed at requirements Google places on its partners to have devices pre-installed with its apps. “Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers,” she said.
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