Yandex, Google, & FAS Resolve Android Antitrust case in Russia

Today the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) announced the approval of a settlement of the two-year old Android antitrust case in Russia that opens up the Android platform in Russia.  The Android antitrust case in Russia focused on the fact that Google required smartphone manufactures to ship their devices with Google apps and services (including Google search set as default) and there were limits to the Google Play store. Yandex originally requested FAS investigate these dynamics and FAS ultimately found these practices to be anti-competitive in a September 2015 ruling.

The FAS press release shared details on the settlement that resolves this case and opens up the Android platform to be more competitive,  explaining the expected changes for Android dynamics in Russia to include both a choice for users to select their preferred search engine and more freedom for smartphone manufacturers to select the apps they want to pre-install on their devices.

As quoted in the Yandex press release, Yandex’s CEO Arkady Volozh weighs in,  “Today is an important day for Russian consumers as Google has agreed to take significant steps that open up its Android platform in Russia,” said Arkady Volozh, Chief Executive Officer of Yandex. “Now millions of Russian Android users will be offered a choice of search engines on their mobile devices. I am thankful to the Federal Antimonopoly Service for applying the law in a manner that effectively and efficiently restores competition to the market for the benefit of Russian users, as competition always breeds innovation. I’m excited, together with the entire team at Yandex, to continue building products and services that deliver exceptional customer experiences.”

Volozh also shared his thoughts in a blog post where he reflects on the settlement and what it means for Russian users, mainly focusing on a celebration of their choice. In the post he explains the critical impact this case has on options for users and the ability for Yandex and other companies to continue a rapid pace of innovation.  Yandex currently has 54% search market share in Russia, and is well-known as Russia’s leading search and mobile applications provider in Russia.  As noted by Volozh, Yandex looks forward to continuing to provide these services to users and the new dynamics in the market.

This resolution has the potential to impact over 55 million Russian Android users in Russia.