Russia Fines Google $6.75 Million Over Android Mobile Dominance

Russia Fines Google $6.75 Million Over Android Mobile Dominance

Russia’s national regulator fined Alphabet Inc.’s Google 438 million rubles ($6.75 million) for violating antitrust rules on tablets and mobile phones, after reviewing a complaint filed by local search engine Yandex NV last year.

The fine was determined as a share of Google Play’s domestic sales, a Federal Anti-Monopoly Service representative said. Local rules stipulate that fines represent 1 percent to 15 percent of a violator’s revenue for 2014, the official said, without elaborating on the exact figure.

FAS, as the regulator is called, found last year that Google violated laws by requiring mobile-device makers to install its services, including search, as a precondition to getting Google Play on gadgets powered by its Android operating system. The world’s leading phone software supplier also didn’t allow third-party services, such as Yandex’s search, to be preinstalled, the regulator said at the time.

Google received notification from FAS about the fine and will study the decision closely before determining further action, Google said in an e-mailed statement.

Google was ordered by FAS to change its agreements with device makers. The U.S. company has appealed the remedies. The latest appeal hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 16.

The Russian antitrust service is continuing talks with Google about an amicable settlement, according to the regulator. Still, the Mountain View, California-based technology company should pay the fine within 60 days, according to a press officer who was not able to be named according to the regulator’s policy.

The European Commission in April sent Google a formal antitrust complaint, accusing the company of striking restrictive contracts that require makers of tablets and phones to install its search and Web browser on new phones. The company also unfairly pays phone makers and telecom operators a share of advertising revenue if they agree to make Google’s search engine the default on devices, the European Union said at the time.

Yandex has seen its share on Android devices grow since June, the company said in a July 28 statement. Google is loosening some of its explicit prohibitions against Yandex after the Russian antitrust ruling, and this has already allowed the Russian company to pre-install its services on some Android phones, Chief Operating Officer Alexander Shulgin said then.

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