As SearchEngineLand covered in October of 2015, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) determined that Google violated Russian competition laws by banning phone manufacturers from preinstalling competitors’ apps, and requiring those same phone manufacturers to preinstall selected Google apps on Android in exchange for access to the Google Play Store.
In recent months, similar actions have been taken against Google in the EU.
Negotiations between Google and the FAS stretched nearly two years before a voluntary settlement was reached. The settlement statement from the official FAS press release read:
Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russia; Google will be obliged not to restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications (including on the default home screen); Google will refrain from stimulating pre-installation of the Google search as the only general search engine[…].
As a result of the violation, Google was also ordered to ‘develop an active ‘choice window’ for the Chrome Browser which at the time of the next update will provide the user with the opportunity to choose their default search engine’.
The referenced ‘next update’ appeared in August 2017, and per FAS orders, the ‘choice window’ below appeared for Chrome Browser users on Android devices.
Just prior to the introduction of the ‘choice window’, Google owned ~60% of the Search Engine market share on Android devices in Russia.
It’s been one year since the ‘choice window’ first appeared, and the impact of free choice on the market place is undeniable.
Yandex has now caught Google, and both now own a 49% share of Search on Android devices in Russia.
A couple of small, local players make up the difference.
As the Russian Internet population continues to mature, and mobile Internet penetration increases, mobile search market share becomes more impactful for advertisers.
Yandex has long been the search leader on Desktop, with a consistent share north of 65% in Russia.
Russia is home to more than 100 million Internet users, and the Internet population is growing at a faster rate than nearly all other established markets. The market has clearly increased in attractiveness for the international advertiser, as the number of international advertisers in Russia continues to climb steadily.