Update (20 February): Russian authorities have confirmed that they are launching an antitrust investigation into Google following Yandex’s request, according to the country’s Interfax news agency.
Original story follows…
Search company Yandex has accused Google of breaking antitrust laws in Russia. The company has submitted a petition to the country’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) calling on it to investigate the claim, reports Tech.eu.
Yandex’s central complaint is that Google bundles its mobile search engine and other services with the Android OS. It accounts for 86 percent of the smartphone market in Russia.
In an official statement, the company says:
Google’s practices relating to Android have been the subject of investigations and lawsuits in many jurisdictions around the world.
Google is the owner of Android, the dominant global mobile operating system. Many believe that Android is an open platform.
In reality, manufacturers of Android-powered devices are locked into the proprietary Google Play application store and closed APIs. In order to install Google Play on their devices, device manufacturers are required to preinstall the entire suite of Google GMS services, and set Google as the default search.
In addition to that, device manufacturers are increasingly prohibited from installing any services from Google’s competitors on their devices.
On the last point, Yandex claims that three smartphone makers in particular – Prestigio, Fly and Explay – notified it last year that they are no longer able to pre-install its services on their Android devices.
Yandex accounts for 58 percent of the search market in Russia with Google trailing it on 33 percent. However, turn to mobile and the Russian firm’s share drops to 44 percent, which may explain why it is pursuing the antitrust claims so vociferously.
Google is still tussling with a long running antitrust investigation by the European Commission, to which Yandex has previously contributed submissions.
The company also tried to combat Google last year by launching its own Android firmware called Yandex.Kit, which replaces Google’s apps with its own services.
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