Russian Antitrust Authority Fines Google $6.75 Million

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Google is in trouble, yet again, with European authorities. This time, Google is to pay $6.75 million in fines for abusing its dominance in the smartphone market. According to the Russian Federal Antitrust Service (FAS) Google is guilty of violating Russian monopoly rules on smartphones and tablets, reports RT.

The charges against Google are in response to a complaint by Yandex in 2015. Yandex complained that Google pushes aside competitors, like Yandex, by forcing Android OEMs to preinstall Google Applications in the devices. In its defence, Google says it does no such thing as it allows phone manufacturers to choose whether to include or omit the Google package of apps and services.

A perfect illustration of this freedom is the fact that Google Now is not the default launcher in most Android phones; neither is Google Chrome the primary search engine in Android devices.

Yandex is the closest competitor to Google search in Russia. Currently, Yandex has 50% of the market share. Yandex hopes to be preinstalled on some Android devices in Russia when Google lifts the alleged preinstall condition.

Google acknowledged that such an allegation exists. In a statement to RT, Google said that “We have a message from the FAS requiring us to pay the penalty. We will carefully review the judgment and devise a way forward.” The FAS requires Google to pay the fine in 60 days. The amount is a reflection of Google’s revenue from Google Play Store in 2014.

Earlier in the year, Google was at crossroads with tax regulators in the UK. Google had to pay £130 million to settle a charge of an alleged tax evasion. But the Russian FAS is not the only antitrust authority Google has to worry about. Google is facing similar charges from the European Union Competition Commission.

According to the Commission, Google is violating the region’s strict antitrust regulations. Also, the company is under scrutiny by the US Federal Trade Commission over abuse of market dominance.

The questions here are, is Google guilty of these allegations or are its mobile products that good? We should keep in mind Apple does a similar thing with its non-open source iOS.

In Russia, Google Services are used by 20.5 million users each month while Yandex services have 20.4 million users. But, Yandex is more popular on the homepage, probably because of language compatibility.