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Shock: Russian court says Russian court is right in slapping down Google monopoly

Arbiter reaffirms antitrust finding in Yandex complaint

An arbitration court in Russia has upheld an earlier decision that could see Google banned from bundling its stuff on Android gear.

The Moscow Arbitration Court said in a brief statement that it would uphold the 2015 ruling from the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) that Google abused its monopoly powers in Russia by forcing hardware vendors to pre-install its software on Android handsets and tablets.

The case, brought up by Google's Russian rival Yandex, accused the Chocolate Factory of freezing out competing apps by tying Android users into the Google Play store.

Yandex complained that by forcing Android owners onto the Play store and other Google hardware, the Chocolate Factory was able to get an unfair advantage in the market over the Yandex search application, and it filed a complaint with the FAS. After an investigation, the FAS concluded that Google indeed violated monopoly laws.

That ruling was reaffirmed Monday by the Appeals Court.

"In the course of the case proceedings, the Commission of the FAS Russia found that Google provided mobile device manufacturers with Google Play app store for pre-installation on Android OS mobile devices adopted for the Russian Federation," the Moscow court said in its ruling.

"Conditions of app store provision include obligatory pre-installation of Google apps as well as its searching engine and their obligatory location on the main screen of a mobile device."

Google could now face stricter rules over its dealings in Russia, including the requirement that it no longer offer its own apps and services pre-installed on Android devices.

A Google spokesperson told The Reg: "We're not commenting as we have not yet received the judgment." ®

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