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Google ordered to unbundle Android apps in Russia by next month

In Russia, Google has been ordered to amend anti-competitive agreements with OEMs that give it an unfair advantage over third party Android apps.

Published onOctober 6, 2015

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Last month, the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service found that Google is unfairly using Android to give itself a competitive advantage and has now given Google a little over one month to comply with the agency’s demands. Come November 18th, Google will have to change the requirements that it places on its hardware partners, specifically the ones that the Russian regulator feels are unfairly restricting apps that aren’t created by Google.

Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has taken a particular exception to arrangements that Google comes to with its partners with regards to pre-installed apps. By pressuring device manufacturers to pre-load a range of Google owned apps, such as Chrome, Maps and Search, along with the Play Store, but not allowing them to pre-install competing apps, third party services are being disadvantaged. Google has been ordered to amend these type of agreements and may also face a fine of 1 to 15 percent of revenue from these services.

The case arose after search rival Yandex issued a complaint against Google. The Russian search provider probably has a lot less to worry about now, as the change in rules would increase the likelihood that OEMs will include its software out of the box for regional handsets.

“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.

This case is just the latest in a long list of anti-trust investigations faced by Google. 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.

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