Google Reaches Deal With Russia Over Android

Google Reaches Deal With Russia Over Android

Google will "no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russian Federation", the FAS said.

On September 29, Google started to notify Russian users of the Android devices about the possibility of changing the search engine, deactivating pre-installed applications, installing third-party services (including third-party search engines and widgets, email, calendar, and other services) and changing position of application icons.

Google will refrain from stimulating pre-installation of the Google search as the only general search engine.

While Google never outright required manufacturers to pre-load its apps, its previous rules made it so that companies producing Android-powered phones had to either install all of Google's core apps - Gmail, a browser with Google default search, and, most importantly, the Google Play app store - or none at all. Google had been appealing the decision prior to the recent settlement.

Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser for devices now on the market, so that users can choose their default search engine when they next update their system, according to the FAS's statement.

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A Russian court approved the settlement agreement on Monday.

It brings to an end a long-running battle between the USA firm and Russia's competition regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

Should the European Union investigation go against Google, it could be fined up to $7.4 billion, the equivalent of 10 percent of its global revenue. This will allow end users of the devices based on the Android OS with the GMS package to see the new "choice screen" at the first launch of the new Chrome widget. The company has about 55 percent market share in Russian search versus Google's 40 percent, according to researcher LiveInternet. I suspect it will have only a limited impact on most Google apps. Furthermore, the giant tech company must offer a tool that will enable users to select the default search engine of their own choice on Android-based smartphones and tablets.

"The settlement will have a positive effect on the market as a whole", FAS head Igor Artemiev said.

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