Nyet: Russia regulators require Google to unbundle Android apps by Nov. 18

Russia's anti-monopoly agency hasn't given Google much time to rejigger Android in a way that broadens competition in that country where 65 percent of devices run on Google's platform.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Google faces a ton of work if it expects to meet a new requirement handed down by Russian regulators: That country is giving Google until November 18 to debundle certain Android apps from the popular mobile platform, which holds a 65 percent marketshare there, according to Re/code.

FAS, the Russian regulatory watchdog that manages anti-monopoly laws, said in a statement,

"To restore competition on the market, Google should amend agreements with mobile-device producers within a month and exclude the anti-competitive clauses."

The issue here isn't new as several EU groups have targeted Google in a similar probe. In Russia, FAS's actions were taken as a result of a complaint from Yandex, a Russia-based Internet search company.

Yandex's issue -- a common theme in different world regions -- is that Google Android hardware partners are required to include certain Google apps and services, while also prominently displaying them. Google last week said that it would be bundling fewer of its apps and services going forward, perhaps in a pre-cursor to the FAS ruling.

Keep in mind that device makers using the open-source version of Android, known as AOSP, are not required (nor can they) use Google's apps and services. The targeted action by FAS only pertains to Google Android.

The situation is akin to probes that found against Microsoft some years ago, which ended up in the company de-bundling Internet Explorer from the Windows operating system. And yet Apple seems unaffected because it has complete control over what apps are pre-installed on iPhones and iPads.

The full FAS statement issued on Monday is here in Russian, which much of language focused on the ability to change the default Android browser (which is easily done) and the preinstalled Google apps. Google has not yet made a public statement on the matter.

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