MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has initiated a case against Yandex after the internet company failed to comply with the requirements for search results, the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The company did not comply with the warning of the antimonopoly authority and continues to create discriminatory conditions in the Internet search market," the regulator said.
According to the statement, the FAS is investigating possible anticompetitive practices for promoting the services of the Yandex LLC Group in search results, and will also assess the consequences such practices have led (could lead) to.
"If the fact of violation and restriction of competition is established, the company can be assigned a turnover fine on the amount of revenue in the market," the FAS explained.
In turn, Executive Director of the IT Coalition Igor Naymushin said that the FAS decision fully meets the interests of the entire domestic Internet industry.
"This is an important signal for the digital industry. We are ready to comprehensively assist the regulator in conducting an objective and detailed investigation," he said as quoted by his agency’s press service.
In early April, the FAS reported that Yandex had filed a petition with the department to extend the deadlines for fulfilling the requirements for search engine tools by 1 month.
At the end of February it became known that the FAS obliged Yandex to stop providing its own services (including Yandex.Vertical, Yandex.Market, Yandex.Mediaservices, Kinopoisk) advantages in the search engine within a month. By doing so Yandex underestimates the position of other companies in the search results, the antitrust watchdog said.
The FAS also obliged Yandex to publish the terms of service access to search promotion tools, as well as to provide equal access to them for all market players. In case of failure to comply with the warning within the prescribed period, the FAS was to make a decision to initiate a case on violation of the antimonopoly legislation.
In response to the watchdog’s statement, Yandex said that the fulfillment of these requirements for search results tools would worsen the search quality for the user. The company noted that some of the requirements of the prescription have already been implemented in the search.
In August 2020, online services ivi, Avito, CIAN, Profi.ru, Tutu.ru, Drom.ru, 2GIS and Zoon filed a complaint to the FAS over Yandex abuse of its dominant position on the online search market. The main complaint concerned special search engine widgets, which are most often displayed above other search results and allow users to search for tickets, ads, movies and more without going to a separate page. According to the companies, only Yandex services can get there, while such a tool does not show the most suitable query result, attracting the user's attention and leading them to Yandex services, which leads to the loss of traffic from competitors.
In turn, Yandex stated that widgets are an international industry standard, they are not fixed in the first positions by default and have no advantages over regular search results.