The FAS (Federal Anti-Monopoly Services) have been looking at possible further anti-monopolistic issues in the mobile phone industry. Recently GOOGLE was the target of one of such their actions.
The Moscow Arbitration Court has recently registered a cassation complaint by GOOGLE with regards to the decision by the 9th Commercial Court of Appeal, which confirmed the legality of the 438 million fine, imposed by the FAS on the company for violation of the Russian Law on the Protection of Competition. The complaint is currently under review.
Originally, YANDEX last Autumn approached the FAS, claiming that GOOGLE had abused its dominant position in the Russian market to have pre-installed its app stores in Android OS in violation of the Law on the Protection of Competition. YANDEX operates the largest search engine in Russia. It is one of the country’s most famous tech companies, also developing a range of internet related services and products.
The conflict actually dates earlier to this, when a year before the decision of the FAS, three manufacturers of Android devices Fly, Explay and Prestigio, began to take action against the preset on their smartphones of the YANDEX service as part of the terms of the agreement, between GOOGLE and the companies. GOOGLE also requested of the manufacturers a standard install on devices of its own apps and search engine.
As a response, the FAS ordered GOOGLE to remove the restrictions on the installation of applications and services of other developers. The company immediately tried to challenge the decision, going first to the Commercial Court of the City of Moscow then to the 9th Commercial Court of Appeal, however both times the FAS decision was confirmed. This Summer, GOOGLE was imposed a fine of nearly half a billion rubles by the FAS for their actions. GOOGLE once again went to Court, trying to challenge the imposed penalties, with the FAS authority threatening new fines. In late September, GOOGLE clients in Russia started to obtain information on how to deactivate the GOOGLE search engine from their phones if already preinstalled – one of the requirements of the FAS.
The GOOGLE issues continue in Russia and are being closely watched.