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The Russian anti-monopoly regulator has ordered Google to unbundle its search app from its Android operating system after being found guilty of “abusing its dominant market position” in the Russian mobile market.
In February of this year, the search engine Yandex asked the regulator to investigate Google over whether its Android operating system was unfairly blocking other search engines on Android phones.
Google is set as the default search engine on all Android phones, and handset manufacturers are unable to preinstall alternative search providers.
With Android being the most popular operating system in Russia, accounting for 86% of all Russian smartphones, Yandex was concerned that Google’s practices were unfair and illegal under Russia’s antitrust laws.
The guilty ruling means that these fears were well-founded, with the Russian regulator now having ordered Google to change how it works with smartphone manufacturers, and allow other search engine apps to be preinstalled on Android smartphones.
In a statement, the Russian regulator said: “To restore competition on the market, Google should amend agreements with mobile-device producers within a month and exclude the anti-competitive clauses.”
Yandex also commented on the development, saying: “We hope that the FAS’s ruling will help to restore fair competition on the market, but to what extent will depend on how this ruling will be executed.”