Date
24 July 2017
A man walks outside the Yandex headquarters in Moscow. Yandex is accusing Google Inc. of abusing its dominant market position in the country. Photo: Reuters
A man walks outside the Yandex headquarters in Moscow. Yandex is accusing Google Inc. of abusing its dominant market position in the country. Photo: Reuters

Google faces antitrust penalties in Russia

Russian antitrust authorities are threatening penalties against Google Inc. for abusing its market position.

Google violated anti-monopoly laws by pre-installing certain applications on mobile devices, the competition ageny FAS said in a case launched by local competitor Yandex.

The US giant could face penalties of up to 15 percent of its 2014 revenue in this segment of the Russian market, Reuters reports.

FAS declined to specify the revenue in question, saying it was a trade secret, but said it would decide on the exact value of the fine after Sept. 28.

It said Google must then pay and change its ways, or risk more fines if violations continue.

Google Russia said it would analyze the decision and declined further comment until then.

Shares in Yandex, which rivals Google as Russia’s biggest internet search engine, rose as much as 9 percent before stabilizing 7 percent higher.

Yandex, which filed a complaint against Google with FAS in February, welcomed the decision.

“We believe the FAS decision will serve to restore competition on the market,” the company said.

It said the complaint included the practice of bundling applications from the Google Mobile Services with the Google Play store, requiring pre-installation of the Google search engine as the default one, and giving Google application icons preferential placement on the screen of mobile devices.

“In addition, the investigation confirmed the existence of agreements on prohibition of pre-installation of competitors’ apps,” Yandex said.

Yandex is ahead of Google in Russia but has seen competition stiffen in mobile phones as consumers have adopted Android-based handsets that come pre-loaded with Google products that compete directly with Yandex applications.

Google’s total 2014 revenue stood at US$66 billion. The company’s website does not provide a separate revenue figure for Russia, or the exact segment involved in the case.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG/RA

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