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Google fined $6.75 million for pre-installing apps in Russia
A while back, you may remember that some government bodies, including the EU Commission and Russia’s Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS), were not too pleased with the number of apps that Google requires manufacturers to install on their Android devices. Well the FAS has now slapped the tech giant with a fine for these practises, adding up to a total of $6.75 million (468 million rubles).
That might not seem like a lot of cash for one of the world’s biggest tech companies, but it’s a worrying sign that government agencies are becoming increasingly hostile to the dominant position of the Android mobile operating system. Android accounts for 74 percent of all mobile devices in Russia, according to Statista, and some local rivals are feeling the squeeze as a result.
The fine came about after rival Russian search engine Yandex complained to the FAS. The complaint alleged that requiring manufacturers to install Search, Maps, and other services as part of Google’s Play Store package gave the business an unfair advantage over alternative services. The FAS agreed and Google was given one month to unbundle its apps from phones back in October 2015, but hasn’t complied. Google attempted to defend itself by stating that it recuperates the costs of providing Android for free through advertising revenue generated by its other services.
Google isn’t the only technology company in the FAS’ sights. The antitrust body has recently opened up a new investigation into Apple over alleged price fixing of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Google looks like its going to have to defend itself against these charges more frequently in the future, as the European Commission has also issued formal antitrust charges against the company for pretty much the same reasons.