Russian Competition Watchdog Investigates GoogleAdded: Friday, March 6th, 2015
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Google is currently being investigated in Russia over allegedly abusing its domination of Android on mobile devices manufactured by 3rd parties. The local Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) launched the case to assess whether the tech giant has violated the local laws following a complaint from Russia’s biggest search engine Yandex. The latter has complained that Google sets its search engine as default on Android phones, and that the mobile software also includes Google apps.
The competition watchdog has studied the complaint and made a decision to start proceedings regarding the violation of anti-monopoly regulation. In response, Google pointed out that smartphone manufactures are free to install any apps they want, while consumers also have complete control over the apps on their mobile devices.
Yandex remains the most popular search engine in Russia, accounting for about 60% of the market. The company also offers rival services to Google’s YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Chrome Browser and Translate. The local tech giant pointed out that the smartphone vendors in Russia were blocked from pre-installing Yandex services on their Android smartphones back in 2014.
According to statistics, Android accounted for more than 80% of the global market last year, while Apple’s iOS had only 15% of the market, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone – 3%.
It should be mentioned that Android is currently available in several versions. The first one is open source and is called the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). It is available for anyone to use with no restrictions, but it does not offer access to Google’s Play Store. This version forms the basis of Amazon’s Fire OS, Xiaomi’s Miui and many others. Another version of the mobile software is known as Google’s version of Android. It is also based on AOSP but comes integrated with Google’s services.
By the way, the Russian investigation follows the assessment by European Commission of a possible challenge to Google’s mobile software business. They are laying the groundwork for a case centered on whether the tech giant abuses the 80% market share of Android with the purpose of promoting its own services from maps to search. It was reported that the European regulators have sent makers of mobile devices questionnaires asking whether Google set any requirement that they cannot pre-install apps, products or services on mobile devices that are rivals to Google’s services.
The US tech giant is also under scrutiny in its home country, but the plaintiffs were required to submit more factual details for an antitrust lawsuit in that case.Posted by: Date:
Friday, March 6th, 2015
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