Google Reaches Settlement in Russian Android Antitrust Probe

Alphabet-owned search giant Google has reached a US$ 7.8 million settlement with Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) as part of an out-of-court deal in a two-year-old case filed by rival Yandex accusing the company of violating competition rules by forcing handset makers to pre-load their devices with Google apps and services in order to gain access to Google Play Store application.

As part of the agreement, "Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android devices in Russia, and will not restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications – including on the Android home screen," reports TechCrunch, adding "Google will also no longer require Google Search to be the only general search engine that's pre-installed, and it will no longer enforce its prior agreements where handset makers had agreed to any of these terms."

The interesting aspect is that while it "makes it possible for other applications to be pre-installed on Android devices in Russia," it may also open the floodgates for similar verdicts elsewhere, notably in the European Union where Google is already fighting a similar investigation, rejecting the claims stating that "it preloads its own apps and services in an effort to be competitive with rival platforms (like Apple)."