Back in 2015, Yandex filed a complaint against Google saying that their required pre-installation of specific apps onto Android phones was anti-competitive. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (SAS) took up the case, and has been working it, with a settlement finally being announced recently.
The terms of the settlement will require Google require Google to make a number of important changes to the way they produce and sell Android devices, including the following:
- Google is no longer permitted to demand that their apps are exclusively installed on Android-based devices when they are sold in Russia.
- There is to be no restrictions on the pre-installation of search engines from competing companies.
- Any previously signed agreements that contradict the terms of this settlement will not be enforced.
- Google is to commit to securing the rights of third parties so that their search engines can be placed in the choice window.
- Google will not stimulate the pre-installation of the Google search engine as the only option.
Google is going to develop a new Chrome widget thanks to this settlement. The widget will replace the standards search widget that is currently found on the home screen of Android devices. This is supposed to expose a ‘choice screen’ where users can pick from several different search engines, all from developers who had signed a commercial agreement so that their search engine could be added to the screen.
In the end, this is likely to benefit Yandex, which is the largest search engine in Russia, since they will now be able to get their apps pre-installed on Android devices. Marketers in this region will already be optimizing their campaigns for the Yandex search engine, however, so there shouldn’t be much that needs to be done to change strategies.
The big question is going to be whether other countries start to follow suit and put more restrictions on Google powered devices.