Google to fight Russian anti-trust ruling over Android apps

Google is challenging a ruling that it broke Russian competition laws by pre-installing some Android apps on phones.

Russia’s federal anti-monopoly service said that Google abused its dominant position by requiring mobile firms to install the apps.

Apps for YouTube and Google’s photography and maps services were at the centre of the row.

Google said no operator was compelled to install its apps and there was plenty of competition for its services.

Open court

When it reached its decision in September, the anti-monopoly watchdog gave Google until 18 November to change its contracts with phone firms so its apps were not favoured. The firm could face penalties of up to 15% of its 2014 revenue in Russia if it did not change its practices.

Google has not complied with this decision and has now published comments on its official Russian blog explaining why.

“We intend to challenge the decision in court and explain why we believe it to be unfounded,” said Google (link in Russian).

It laid out five reasons why it believed there was little evidence that its own Android apps were getting favourable treatment. It said no manufacturer was required to install its apps and some had decided to omit Google’s software from devices and instead add their own.

It added that the ease with which apps can be installed on Android phones and the huge number of rival programs meant there was plenty of competition in the Russian market.

The Russian anti-monopoly service has yet to respond to Google’s announcement.

However, Russian search rival Yandex, which prompted anti-trust authorities in the country to investigate Google, said it would welcome an “open trial” on the issue.

“Yandex is confident in every point of its position,” it said.


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