Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Google may have to change its Android app-bundling policies in Russia


A Russian court seconded a prior decision today when it determined that Google violated anti-trust laws by forcing Android phone manufacturers to include its apps on devices by default. The suit claimed that the company broke Russian law by requiring the country's manufacturers to bundle its apps on Android devices that came with the Play Store pre-installed. Essentially, if a phone manufacturer wants to include the official Play Store on its devices by default, Google stipulates that its other apps have to be included and prominently featured, as well. Manufacturers also apparently aren’t allowed to include apps that compete with Google’s.

Naturally, Russian search engine competitor Yandex wasn’t thrilled with these requirements, prompting it to bring this suit to court. It won in October, and although Google attempted to appeal, this decision suggests the company will have to change the requirements put on its hardware partners, at least in Russia.

ALL GOOGLE'S APPS WOULD HAVE TO BE PRE-INSTALLED AND PROMINENTLY FEATURED

Google faces similar allegations in the EU. The European Commission launched an investigation nearly a year ago that's looking into Google's bundling practices and whether its control over Android systems allows its apps to dominate the market. For its part, the company said because its services are free, it can't be violating anti-trust laws. Still, the EU claims this isn't the case and that Google's practices give it the upperhand on competition. The EU has attempted to settle with the company multiple times to no avail, and the case is still pending.

Google couldn't comment on the court case in Russia, a spokesperson told The Verge, as it hadn't yet received the full court judgment.

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