Android may be an open operating system, but Google's Android - the version found on most Android devices - doesn't offer as much freedom. Google will allow apps and competing search engines to be pre-loaded on devices, with a new tool to select the latter. Google will develop a "choice window" for its Chrome browser on existing devices so that users will be able to choose their preferred browser.
Now the search giant has settled, agreeing to pay a $7.8 million fine as well as allowing phone manufacturers to choose any default search engine.
The dispute arose after Russia-based search company Yandex submitted a complaint to the FAS about Google's practices.
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Alexei Dotsenko, FAS deputy head, told reporters that "Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russian Federation and will not restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other applications".
The Russian antitrust watchdog said the settlement will help eliminate Google's violations of the antimonopoly legislation and will ensure competition in the market for mobile applications particularly mobile search. The Web giant in a statement to Engadget said it is "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".
Should the European Union investigation go against Google, it could be fined up to $7.4 billion, the equivalent of 10 percent of its global revenue. This included the exclusivity and priority placement of Google apps as well as the provisions limiting installation of other developers' apps and services. Yandex now holds a 55 percent share of the search market in Russian Federation, while Google clings to a 40 percent share. Russian users didn't have the option of changing to a different search engine on those phones.
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"Implementation of the settlement's terms will be an effective means to secure competition between developers of mobile applications", said FAS head Igor Artemiev.
According to the regulator, Google obliged manufacturers of Android OS-based devices to pre-install its applications together with Android platform.
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