Russian antitrust officials fine Google $6.8 million

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A ruling last year found that Google was guilty of showing preferential treatment to its services as they related to Android.

Russian antitrust officials fined Google $6.8 million dollars (USD) today for abusing its position in the smartphone market. A ruling last year found that Google was guilty of showing preferential treatment to its services as they related to Android. Essentially the Russian government is saying that Google offered no competitors to their own services and required Google services be used in order for an OEM to use Android with Google Play installed.

In a statement on Thursday, the agency said that Russia’s competition rules applied to all companies operating in the country, including foreign ones.

Google denies breaking Russian competition rules. The Silicon Valley company is still appealing the Android case in Russia, which was opened last year after Yandex complained that its services for Android were being treated unfairly.

“We have received notice of the fine from F.A.S. and will analyze closely before deciding our next steps,” Google said in a statement on Thursday.

Apparently Google doesn’t have a stranglehold on search and services in Russia as it does in other countries. Yandex is the alternative and it is still holding on to a big share of the market. Yandex is partially responsible for the case against Google as it felt it was being pushed out of the market. With the majority of Russians using Android OS, it would be a blow against Yandex had Google services been the only option for Android users in Russia.

Google denies wrongdoing in those cases, saying that it competes on equal terms with companies like Yelp and Microsoft, among others. It also says that cellphone makers are free to use Android-based services provided by rivals. Google does not make money directly from licensing the mobile operating system to companies, but it takes a cut from advertisements displayed on online searches.

The $6.8 million dollar fine is like coffee money to Google, but the antitrust cases against Google are becoming popular and more countries are investigating if Google is indeed gaining an unfair advantage. What do you think of this antitrust fine against Google? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  Source: NY Times
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