Google has agreed to open up its Android mobile operating system to rival search engines in Russia. As part of a deal to settle its two-year dispute with Russian competition authorities, Google will no longer require exclusivity of its apps on Android-based devices in Russia.
Google was accused by Russia's Yandex of abusing its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device makers. "Russia's competition watchdog, FAS, ruled in 2015 that Google was breaking the law by requiring the pre-installation of applications, including its own search tool, on mobile devices using Android," reports Reuters.
Google has reportedly agreed to develop a tool that will allow Android users to choose a default search engine on their Android devices. "Users will be able to change settings at any time and choose the default search engine which suits their needs," FAS said.
Google has been criticised worldwide for abuse of its dominant position in Android-based devices to protect its online search market. Reuters reports that Google has reached a commercial agreement with Yandex that "provides new opportunities for Yandex to promote its search service within Chrome (internet browser)."
The new agreement between Google and Russia's FAS sets a new precedent and might be replicated in other markets as well. The deal is for a period of six years and nine months and Google has been ordered to pay $7.85 million in fines.