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Russia's antimonopoly watchdog: Google will not 'get off with fines'

December 02, 2016, 19:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In September 2015, the Federal Antimonopoly Service ruled that Google Inc. and Google Ireland Ltd. had breached the competition protection law under the complaint of the Russian company Yandex
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MOSCOW, December 2. /TASS/. Google will not "get off with fines" in the case of competition law violation, Head of the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) Igor Artemyev said on Friday.

"They will not get off with fines. The thing is that there are so many different possibilities. Russia, a large state, will protect itself and the interests of consumers," he said in an interview with NTV.

It was reported earlier that the Moscow Arbitration Court has decided to transfer Google’s appeal lodged against a judgement made by courts upholding the legality of the decision by FAS, to the intellectual property rights court.

In September 2015, the Federal Antimonopoly Service ruled that Google Inc. and Google Ireland Ltd. had breached the competition protection law under the complaint of the Russian Internet company Yandex.

According to the regulator, Google obliged manufacturers of Android OS-based devices to pre-install its applications together with Android platform. FAS said that Google’s policy restricted installation of applications by other developers. Google did not agree with the ruling and appealed to the court.

On September 29, Google started to notify Russian users of the Android devices about the possibility of changing the search engine, deactivating pre-installed applications, installing third-party services (including third-party search engines and widgets, email, calendar, and other services) and changing position of application icons. Google noted it continues to work with FAS on technical execution of their orders.

Google lodged an appeal against the court judgement in favor of FAS regarding the case on abusing dominant position.

The company did not provide its comment, while FAS said it would announce its position regarding the appeal after it analyzes the court’s finding.

Yandex said that the decision by the Moscow Arbitration Court on turning over the case review to the intellectual property rights court does not concern the estimation of the facts of the case. "The essence remains the same: Google’s agreements with manufacturers of Android OS-based mobile devices contain conditions prioritizing Google services and limit the development of alternative services. Google itself does not deny those conditions," the company’s press service said. Yandex expects the court to publish the decision on the results of the hearing, and will continue standing its ground.

On November 1, the Moscow Arbitration Court adjourned the case of the FAS fine in the amount of 438.1 mln rubles ($6.6 mln) for Google’s abuse of the dominating position on the online application stores market in Russia until December 8.

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