Google must now contend with yet another antitrust investigation.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia has launched a formal probe into Google over potential violations of antitrust law, Reuters reported Friday. The investigation was initiated following a request by Russia-based search engine Yandex, which has accused Google of forcing device makers to preinstall certain Google apps and to set Google search as the default.
“We have studied the complaint and decided to open proceedings regarding the violation of anti-monopoly regulation,” a spokeswoman for the FAS told Reuters.
Yandex, which competes directly with Google, owns almost 60 percent of the overall search market in its home country. But its share of searches on Android devices is only around 44 percent, down from 52 percent a year ago, a Yandex spokesman told BBC News.
The Russian search engine claims that Google locks device makers into Google’s app store. In order to install Google Play, device makers must preinstall the entire suite of Google Mobile Services, which include Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and other Google apps, Yandex said. Further, Google blocks rival apps from being installed on Android devices. Citing one example, Yandex said that three of its smartphone vendor partners — Prestigio, Fly and Explay — told it last year that they were no longer able to preinstall Yandex services on their Android devices due to Google’s policy.
The Russian probe is only the latest investigation into claims that Google imposes restrictions on Android device makers.
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SOURCE: Cnet, Lance Whitney