Google MENACED by Russian probe over 'abuse of dominance' gripe

Complaint cites Android bundling

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Russia's answer to Google, Yandex, has filed an official complaint against the American ad giant to the Russian competition authorities.

Yandex claims the US ad slinger is abusing its position and forcing mobile phone manufacturers to include Google search on the home screen of all Android devices. The complaint comes as Yandex's share of the Russian search market dipped below 60 per cent for the first time.

Android is nominally an open source system, but to install the Google Play Store, Google insists that mobile makers include a whole suite of Google products, a situation that Yandex says it cannot abide. [Of course, users could equally install Yandex's homegrown version, Yandex.Store, instead.]

Google has yet to make any statement on the Russian case, and El Reg was trying to acquire a comment at the time of going to press.

Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service has promised to look into the issue. It said in an email to El Reg, "We confirm receipt of Yandex complaint. We consider it [for] 30 days, then decide to initiate or not to initiate proceedings."

It's thought Russian authorities will be keeping one eye on the EU, where a similar investigation is underway. The most recent complaint was filed by Aptoide, a Portuguese startup, in July.

Aptoide, which runs an independent Android apps store, claims that Google is leveraging its dominant position in the Android market to control the market for apps.

In a longer running case, complainants including Microsoft and Oracle under the Fair Search umbrella, also alleged that Google is abusing its dominant position in Android to control the mobile marketplace.

In a bizarre move last year, the European Parliament even voted to have the search giant broken up if things do not go well in its European competition case. No doubt that thought will keep Yandex execs warm at night.

The US search giant has repeated several times that it continues to work with the European Commission to resolve several regulatory and competition matters. ®

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