Russia began investigating
Google for antitrust violations last year after the largest search
engine in the country, Yandex, complained to authorities. It alleged
that Google’s promotion of its own services over alternatives (like
Yandex) on Android was anti-competitive. Now, the Russian Federation
Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has issued a $6.8 million fine against
Google. Surely, this will bankrupt the company.
The fine is obviously a tiny amount of money for Google, which has $75 billion in annual revenue. The fine is based on a 15% cut of Google’s 2014 revenue in Russia.
Google says it is evaluating the ruling handed down by the FAS, and
will decide on its next step. That probably won’t include just paying
the fine. Even though it’s a small amount of money, it signifies that
Russian authorities consider the way Google operates Android to be
illegal. The company doesn’t want to concede that point without an
At issue here is the agreement OEMs have to sign in order to gain an
access to Google Play Services. Certain Google apps need to be included
on devices and have to be set as the default. This irks Yandex, which
would like to be given prominent placement on mobile devices. Of course,
Android is open source and anyone is free to create a fork if they
don’t want to use Google’s ecosystem. Of course, everyone wants access
to the Play Store on Android.
Neither side is likely to back down. This might just be the start of monetary penalties in Russia. It could get very messy. They should just reconcile neatly