Google loses antitrust appeal in Russian court over pre-loading Android apps

Google's antitrust legal issues in Europe are growing, and the latest ruling out of Russia doesn't help the search giant's cause.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Alphabet's Google has lost an anti-monopoly appeal in Russia, after the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the country found Google using its dominant Android position to force its own apps and services on users -- reducing competition.

"In course of the case proceedings, the Commission of the FAS Russia found that Google provided mobile devices manufacturers with Google play app store for pre-installation on Android OS mobile devices adopted for the Russian Federation," Monday's Moscow Arbitration court ruling said. "Conditions of app store provision include obligatory pre-installation of Google apps as well as its searching engine and their obligatory location on the main screen of a mobile device."

The appeal ruling comes after FAS ordered in late-2015 for Google to make good on what the FAS claims are violations of antitrust laws.

Russian search engine Yandex NV worked with FAS to initiate the antitrust investigation into Google.

"After careful consideration of all the facts in the case against Google's anticompetitive practices, the court has upheld FAS's judgement," a Yandex spokesperson told VentureBeat. "We are satisfied with the court's decision to uphold FAS's judgement in the case against Google."

Google can appeal Monday's ruling, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Similar to other mobile operating systems from Apple and Microsoft, pre-loading services and apps is the industry norm. Leaders in the telecom industry have called for freedom to only preinstall some Google apps, and not all.

Europe as a whole has been in a heated antitrust battle with Google. The Silicon Valley-based company is claimed to violate antitrust law in the European Union with its contracts with advertisers and Android OS.

"I do not think of it as one Google case but literally as different investigations and different cases," Margrethe Vestage, the European Union's antitrust chief, said in October of last year. "What they have in common is that the name Google appears in each one, but apart from that they are very different."

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