Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

Russian users didn't have the option of changing to a different search engine on those phones. Under the terms of the agreement, Google will still have to pay a total of 439 million roubles ($7.85 million) in fines.

Google's antitrust battle with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) led by Russian search rival Yandex came to a close Monday with the Mountain View, California company reaching an out-of-court deal.

Yandex's chief executive Arkady Volozh declared the settlement "an important day for Russian consumers".

The Moscow-based company had accused the search giant's parent, Alphabet, of undermining competition by forcing phone makers to preinstall a set bundle of Google apps on Android.

"We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia's competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), resolving the competition case over the distribution of Google apps on Android", a spokeswoman for Google told the BBC.

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Following a 2015 ruling of anti-monopoly behavior involving Android, Google has settled with Russia's regulatory agency in an out-of-court deal.

As part of the agreement, Google will also develop a tool allowing users to choose a default search engine on their Android devices. The amount of the fine consists of 9% of company's turnover on the Russian market in 2014 plus inflation. These developments will help Google to fulfill their obligation to "not to restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications". This included the exclusivity and priority placement of Google apps as well as the provisions limiting installation of other developers' apps and services.

Shares in Google's local Russian rival, Yandex, rose more than 7% on the news. In a "few months", Google will have a home-screen search widget that will offer up any manner of search providers (yep, including Yandex) assuming they sign a commercial agreement for their inclusion in the query box.

"Implementation of the settlement's terms will be an effective means to secure competition between developers of mobile applications", said FAS head Igor Artemiev.

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