Google is facing a potential antitrust investigation by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service following a complaint by Russian competitor Yandex, according to a report by Tech.eu’s Robin Wauters.
Yandex, also a search engine, is angry that Google’s search tool comes already installed on Android mobile devices. That’s because smartphone makers are forced to install Google Search — along with other Google apps — if they want the Google Play store to come standard on phones.
As a result, Yandex alleges that “device manufacturers are increasingly prohibited from installing any services from Google’s competitors on their devices.” Manufacturers Prestigo, Fy, and Explay have all “notified [Yandex] in the course of 2014 that they are no longer able to pre-install Yandex services on their Android devices,” Wauters writes.
Yandex is pushing to have Google’s Search spun out from the rest of the company. “Google should not prevent manufacturers from preinstalling competitor apps,” a Yandex spokesperson told TechCrunch. “This is why we are talking about the need to unbundle Google’s Android operating system from Google Search and its over end-user services.”
Although Google dominates the European market, with a 90% plus search share, it has an acrimonious relationship with authorities. In November 2014, the European Parliament actually voted to break up the company and spin off Google’s Search arm because of “anti-competitive behaviour.” The vote was non-binding, but it illustrates the level of distrust for the search giant on the continent.
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