Google fined €6M for breaching Russian competition laws

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Russia’s Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) fined Google RUB438 million (€6 million/$6.7 million) after ruling the company’s Android operating system (OS) licensing terms breach domestic competition rules.

In a statement, the FAS said it issued the fine following a ruling issued in September 2015 that Google and its Google Ireland subsidiary violated federal laws designed to protect competition in Russia. The regulator opened the investigation following a complaint by domestic search engine company Yandex, Bloomberg reported.

The FAS explained that its investigation proved Google breaches the country’s anti-trust rules by requiring device manufacturers to pre-install components including the Google Play app store and Google’s search engine in all devices running the Android operating system (OS). The regulator added that Google’s licensing terms also make it difficult for third party developers to gain access to Android OS devices.

Elena Zaeva, head of the FAS communications department, said the regulator aims to promote competition in Russia’s mobile software market. “Competition Law must be observed [by] all the companies whose products are supplied to the Russian Federation,” she said, adding that multinational companies are not excepted from such rules.

Google did not respond to FierceWireless:Europe’s request for a comment on the matter.

The FAS decision to fine Google came days after the Russian regulator announced it is investigating potential price fixing by Apple relating to its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones following a consumer complaint.

In a statement announcing the investigation, the FAS said it has observed “signs of price-setting coordination” among iPhone resellers, which had resulted in the country’s 16 main retailers charging the same amount for each model of device.

The FAS said it had also “identified similarities in the resellers’ prices for other Apple’s [sic] smartphones.”

Google’s woes, meanwhile, do not look set to end with the FAS fine.

South Korea’s antitrust regulator the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KTFC) on Friday gave formal confirmation that it is investigating the U.S. company for potential breaches of the country’s anti-competition laws, Reuters reported.

The KTFC has already cleared Google of breaching competition laws following an investigation of its Android licensing terms, Reuters added citing local media reports.

For more:
- see this FAS statement (in Russian)
- read this FAS Apple announcement
- view this Bloomberg report
- read this Reuters article

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