We’re used to hearing about Google facing charges from antitrust authorities in Europe, but the search giant is also having a troubled time in Russia, where the country’s national regulator has just fined the company $6.75 million for demanding hardware makers bundle its own services in Android devices.
Russia’s Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) ruled last year that Google is “abusing” its position in the mobile market after a six-month investigation following a complaint from Yandex, the country’s largest search engine and Google rival.
Google is facing the same charge from European regulators, who say that requiring manufacturers to pre-install Search on Android devices as a condition to license certain Google apps breaches antitrust rules.
Google appealed against the ruling in March, but Moscow’s arbitration court stood by the FAS decision.
A FAS representative said the fine was determined as a share of Google Play’s domestic sales in Russia. Local rules stipulate that fines represent 1 to 15 percent of a violator's revenue - from 2014, in this instance - but what percentage Google will have to hand over is unknown.
Google now has two months to pay the fine. It has also been ordered to change its agreements with device makers.
In a statement to Reuters, the company’s press service said: "We have received a notification from FAS about the imposed fine. We will familiarize ourselves with the ruling before deciding on further actions. In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia."
Google isn’t the only US tech firm facing antitrust charges in Russia. The FAS is investigating Apple over allegations the Cupertino company may have been involved in fixing prices for iPhones - something it says is left up to Russian resellers.