Russia’s antitrust authority has announced on Monday that it strongly believes Google’s policies on pre-installed Android apps are anti-competitive and threatened with a 15-percent revenue fine for the technology company.

The country’s regulators have ordered Google to remove restrictions on bundled third-party apps by November 18th if it wants to avoid a fine, which could include up to 15 percent of its Russian revenue from last year. Android’s revenue model revolves around steering people toward Google search ads and services, and that’s much less likely to happen when you see alternatives like Yandex, which filed the antitrust complaint.

According to the Russian antitrust authority, Google is illegaly forcing smartphone vendors to install its apps, including the Google Play store, on Android phones. Credit: Tech Arena

Yandex complaint is that Google cannot have a rule requiring Google be the default search engine on devices that ship with the Play Store. The allegation sustains that Google dominates the mobile market so much that this policy is an abuse of their power dominating the huge Russian market on the desktop. Their manufacturers technically can choose to ship Android without Play Services, but it would be commercially nonviable and will be a hemorrhage in market share for mobile Google.

Google hasn’t yet responded publicly to the ruling, telling a Reuters contact that their legal team is looking over the full decision before speaking out, but it will be the company’s decision into how it conducts its business across the globe.

They have already pared down the number of apps they handle on new phones, which could help its case maybe outside Russia. But of course, Google is always going to want to include its best apps with Android to bring people deeper into its ecosystem of services, so it is unlikely the company will fully wipe those apps away unless it really has a good reason for it.

Source: The Verge