Google agrees to open Android to other search engines in Russia

Google logoGoogle has agreed to be less controlling about what Android phone manufacturers can do in Russia, as the result of a settlement today with the countrys antimonopoly agency.

In addition to paying a $7.8 million fine, Google has agreed to stop preventing phone manufacturers from changing the default search engine to anything but Google. Google wont be allowed to require any app exclusivity on new phones, nor will it be allowed to prevent other companies apps from coming preinstalled.

While Android is an open platform, core parts of the operating system arent, including Googles app store. Thats allowed Google to set strict conditions for any phone manufacturer that wants to build a phone with access to the Play Stores millions of apps.

Russias Federal Antimonopoly Service said this counted as an abuse of Googles dominant market position, and for the past two years, its been investigating and suing over the companys restrictive terms.

The suit followed a complaint from Yandex, a major Russian search company, which is one of the biggest winners of this settlement. Yandex will now be able to reach agreements with phone manufacturers to have its search engine preinstalled on Android phones, which can slow Googles expansion in Russia and bolster its own.

Google agrees to open Android to other search engines in Russia

Yandex Arkady Volozh actually put out a statement on the settlement, calling the agreement an important day for Russian consumers. While the message is necessarily critical of Google, Volozh takes a moment to thank his competitor for recognizing the value of openness.

Competition breeds innovation, Volozh writes. Its our desire to participate in a market where users can choose the best services available.

Google has also agreed to soon offer a Chrome widget that will let Android users in Russia choose a default search engine aside from Google. Any developer that signs a commercial agreement with Google can be included Yandex is the first to sign up.

We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russias competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android, a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Source: The Verge

Tags: Android, Google, Yandex

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