Russia’s most popular search engine, Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) has opened a case against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), alleging the violation of Russia’s antitrust law and launching a complaint over Google’s mobile platform according to Reuters.
The lawsuit explains that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been actively preventing smartphone manufacturers from preloading any competing service in devices that are running Android. The lawsuit also claims that its open platform is just an illusion, because in order to place the Android Play Store on the devices, manufacturers are obligated to install the complete suite of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) services, and set Google as the default search engine.
Just last year, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) blocked Explay, Prestigio and Fly, three Russian smartphone manufacturers from preloading Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) in their devices even before they were sold to consumers. Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) claims that the practices taken by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) hurt competitors and also consumers as they are funneled into installing all Google apps or make a choice to change and install alternative software. Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) argues that email and search engines should not be determined by the operating system of a smartphone.
If smartphone manufacturers in Russia don’t want to install a particular Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) app, for example Google Maps, they are not allowed to install any of the Google suite apps. So it’s an all-or-nothing type of situation with a very tough choice for manufacturers in Russia, understanding that Android is the most popular operating system in the country with a presence in 86% of the smartphones in the country.
The lawsuit from Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) was filed with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia claiming that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) might be violating Russian antitrust laws by not permitting the device manufacturers to preload any software from Yandex or any other Google competitor.
“We have studied the complaint and decided to open proceedings regarding the violation of anti-monopoly regulation,” said a spokesman from the FAS.
The press service for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in Russia denied the anti-competitive behavior.
“Device makers are free to install the apps they choose and consumers always have complete control over the apps on their devices,” Google said in emailed comments.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is also being sued by a federal court in San Jose, California where two individuals charge that the company forces the Android device makers to limit the competitor’s apps. The judge said in December that she would require the individuals to present more factual details to allow the lawsuit to proceed.
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