Russia’s anti-monopoly agency service found that Google is unfairly using Android to give itself a competitive advantage and has now given Google until November 18, to address charges that it was abusing its market position in the country. The Russian regulators have taken issue with what Google does and does not allow its hardware partners to do when it comes to Android. If its partners want to sell a phone that includes the Google Play Store — and, therefore, access to most Android apps — they’re currently required to include and prominently feature a number of Google’s other apps as well. They’re also not allowed to preinstall competing apps, the regulator says, and that’s what it wants Google to check on. Google may also face a fine of 14 percent of revenue from these services.
The case was brought to table when search rival Yandex (who dominates the huge Russian market on the desktop) issued a complaint against Google.
“To restore competition on the market, Google should amend agreements with mobile-device producers within a month and exclude the anti-competitive clauses,” – Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service
Google doesn’t appear to have any way to appeal the ruling and the company has not commented on the matter. While the decision may help out third parties, it’s not clear how this will affect important services, such as maps or email, which are linked into other Android features like Google Now.
Now, Google never prevents Android users from downloading a different search provider from the Play Store. From the perspective of Yandex, though, Google dominates the mobile market so much that this policy is an abuse of their power. While manufacturers technically can choose to ship Android without Play Services, it would be commercially nonviable.
This case might have not caught Google by surprise, since its facing other lots of anti-trust investigations. The search giant is under investigation by the European Commission regarding its Android OS and pre-installed services, and is also fighting a similar anti-trust case in Europe over alleged preferential shopping search results. India has also launched its own investigation into the manipulation of search results and the FTC is pondering a case of its own.