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From Antitrust Law Daily, April 18, 2017

Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation settles market abuse charges against Google

By Jody Coultas, J.D.

Google has agreed to pay about $7.8 million (438,067,400 roubles) to settle a two-year dispute with the Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) that it violated Russia’s antitrust laws by abusing its search engine market dominance. The settlement will help eliminate the violations of the antimonopoly legislation previously detected by the FAS Russia and will ensure competition on markets of mobile applications, especially mobile search, according to the Russia’s competition authority.

In 2015, the FAS Russia established that Google had violated Part 1 Article 10 of the Federal Law "On Protection of Competition" by prohibiting the pre-installation of rival search engines and other competing applications on Android phones. Also, the FAS Russia found that Google, as part of its license for the Google Play store, required mobile devices manufacturers to pre-install certain Google apps together with Google Play, place the apps on the devices’ home screen, and set the Google search engine as the default search engine. An appellate court upheld the decision. The case had originally been brought by Yandex, a Russian competitor of Google.

Google then proposed to the FAS Russia to reach a settlement, and the FAS Russia agreed. Under the settlement, Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russia or restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications. Also, Google agreed to refrain from stimulating pre-installation of the Google search as the only general search engine and will not enforce the parts of the previously signed agreements that contradict to the terms of the settlement. Finally, Google will be committed to securing the rights of the third parties to include their search engines into the choice window.

For devices currently being used, Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser which at the time of the next update will provide the user with the opportunity to choose their default search engine.

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