Russian Anti-Monopoly Agency Rules Against Google For Pre-Loading Gapps On Phones, Plans To Issue Fine
Google is not the largest search provider in Russia, but that didn’t stop market leader Yandex from filing an anti-monopoly complaint against Google earlier this year. Now the Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) has quite predictably sided with Yandex. According to FAS, Google illegally required Android device makers in Russia to include its apps and services alongside the Play Store.
The complaint comes down to the Google Mobile Services agreement, which requires OEMs that want access to Google Play to also include things like Gmail, Google Search, Maps, and so on. You know, the things people actually want. Yandex wants to be able to substitute its version of those services for Google’s on phones that also have the benefit of accessing the Play Store. The alternative is a phone lacking a coherent app ecosystem, which no one wants to buy.
Yandex was obviously quite pleased with the ruling, saying, “We believe the FAS decision will serve to restore competition on the market.” Again, Yandex is already the search market leader in Russia. It just wants to keep Google from getting a foothold in mobile.
This ruling comes with a fine, the amount of which will be decided in the coming weeks. FAS has also advised Google it will be assessed additional penalties if it doesn’t stop requiring that its apps are bundled and set as the default on Russian Android devices. Google has yet to respond, but having its entire model for licensing GMS in Russia ruled illegal is a serious problem. Russia is a big market, but is it too big for Google to pull Google Play? This might get very messy, and it’s consumers who will suffer.