In Russia, Google must unbundle its apps from Android

JC Torres - Sep 14, 2015, 9:21pm CDT
In Russia, Google must unbundle its apps from Android

Score one for Russian search market leader Yandex. The country’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, acting on a complaint filed by the company, ruled that Google‘s practice of bundling its apps and services with Android and Google Play violate anti-trust laws. This is the first major legal blow that Google has suffered in the region that is stacking up the anti-trust charges against it. As a result, Google may have to start unbundling said apps in that market. And naturally, Yandex’s stocks jumped high after the decision was publicized.

Technically, Android does not rely on Google’s app and service, collectively called Google Mobile Services. Countless ROMs, even Android variants like Amazon’s Kindle or Cyanogen OS, do not ship with it. That said, it has practically become part and parcel of Android, especially Google Play Store. And if OEMs want to include that, which they most certainly would want to, they have to play by Google’s rules, which means pre-installing certain Google apps, like Google Search.

This is at the center of Yandex’s beef with Google. Thanks to having search pre-installed in almost all of Android devices, users have started flocking over to that instead of Yandex’s own search. Yandex saw its search activity fall drastically while Google’s rose dramatically. naturally, it was none too happy with it. Now, of course, it is jubilant.

Yandex applauds the Russian agency’s decision, boasting that the country is the first jurisdiction to find Google guilty of unfair business practices. Google faces several other complaints in the European Union, like how it favors its own shopping search results over those of smaller retailers as well as its bundling of apps that favor its own brand. This ruling could very well serve as precedent, or at least encouragement, for the other cases against Google.

Within the next 10 days, the Russian regulator will be serving Google with instructions on how to remedy the matter. Google has not yet received such and would not yet comment.

SOURCE: Bloomberg


Must Read Bits & Bytes