Russia orders Google to unbundle its apps on Android
After three weeks of discussion over the punishment for Google, Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has ordered the company to unbundle applications on Android.
The complaint, originally filed by Yandex, asked for a change to Google’s pre-installation of apps. Instead of Google deciding what apps should and shouldn’t be on a mobile, the manufacturer will be able to pick and choose from a variety of services.
This should, in theory, allow local app developers more of a chance to surpass Google. Yandex, a Russian search engine, will receive more acceptance from Russian mobile manufacturers.
It should also allow manufacturers to remove apps deemed unpopular in the country, offering more space for users to fill with their own favourite apps. Apps like Drive, Google Play Books, Movies, and Music could be booted off.
Google has until November 10 to fix the bundle problem. It may face a 1 to 15 percent revenue fine for the violations on services.
It is the first time Google has been found guilty in an antitrust case, and should bolster the European Commission’s own investigation. Search might be safe, but Google’s conduct on Android is definitely worth looking into for any anti-monopoly and antitrust organization.
Google has not responded to the ruling. We might see the company "pull out" of the country if it comes down to the wire, or implement some structural changes -- we doubt the entirety of Google services will be unbundled, at least for now.
Russia does have a huge Android market however, so working with the government may be advisable. Google is also working on returning to China, where it has been banned since 2011, which shows a new value on markets regardless of regulation, censorship, and surveillance.
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