This just in: Yandex, the ‘Google of Russia’, has submitted a request to Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to investigate a possible violation of the Russian antitrust law by rival Google.

More specifically, Yandex is asking the Russian antitrust agency to investigate Google’s bundling of its mobile search engine and other end-user services with the Android OS running on many a connected device.

Yandex has not published the news on its website (or at least not yet), but here’s an official statement from the Moscow-based company:

Google’s practices relating to Android have been the subject of investigations and lawsuits in many jurisdictions around the world.

Google is the owner of Android, the dominant global mobile operating system. Many believe that Android is an open platform.

In reality, manufacturers of Android-powered devices are locked into the proprietary Google Play application store and closed APIs. In order to install Google Play on their devices, device manufacturers are required to preinstall the entire suite of Google GMS services, and set Google as the default search.

In addition to that, device manufacturers are increasingly prohibited from installing any services from Google’s competitors on their devices.

Yandex contends that three smartphone vendors and longtime partners of the company – namely Prestigio, Fly and Explay – have notified them in the course of 2014 that they are no longer able to pre-install Yandex services on their Android devices.

Yandex says it expects Google to “continue this practice”.

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Google and Yandex have been duking it out in Russia over the search market for quite some time (and at times partnered up), but it’s the first time the latter company has requested the country’s antitrust authorities to formally investigate the American online search and advertising juggernaut. It’s a rather big deal, given that an estimated 86 percent of all smartphones sold in Russia are Android devices.

Google has roughly 33% of the Russian search market, while Yandex commands 58%.

Worth noting: Google’s Android is already under investigation by the European Commission, and Yandex has been participating in that particular probe as well.

Says Ochir Mandzhikov, Yandex’s PR director:

“We believe that device manufacturers should have a choice as to which search provider to set as the default or which services to have preinstalled on the device. Google should not prevent manufacturers from preinstalling competitor apps.”

“This is why we are talking about the need to unbundle Google’s Android operating system from Google Search and its other end-user services,” he added.

Those services would include Google Play, the company’s mobile app marketplace, maps, email etc.

Needless to say, they are all services also provided by Yandex in Russia.

Also worth noting: Yandex has in the past launched free Android firmware dubbed Yandex.Kit in a bid to replace Google’s apps with its own.


Featured image credit: Yandex offices in Moscow (credit to Yandex)

  • fundun

    If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em….AOSP does not require Google services. It is only required if you want to use the Google Play Store.

    • Greg Spinosa

      It’s hard to use Android w/o Google Play Store, because most apps are available only there. So the problem is that Google is forcing manufactures to use only Google Apps as preinstalled and do not allow them to use any other software such as Yandex. I think this is worst competitive strategy. If Google apps are so good, then there’s no needs to forbid itin that way, because users must have choice and they need to have that choice. At least, such apps like Yandex must be very popular in Russia, so people should have the ability to use it.

  • If Samsung and Sony are able to pre-install their services, why shouldn’t Prestigio, Fly and Explay be able to do the same? The nice thing with Android is that you actually can install any ROM containing any pre-installed apps you want. Try that with iPhone.

    Android is an open platform, Google Services isn’t. Two different things. Sounds like Yandex dosn’t know what they are talking about, or they do and have a hidden agenda.

  • abdelkrimB

    When will the European Commission will force Google to do the same in Europe? Why can’t I uninstall google+ from MY phone?

    • abhish3k

      You can disable it as a ‘non-rooted’ android user and fully uninstall it as a ‘rooted’ android user. Either of these options will do the same (remove the app from app drawer)!

      • Greg Spinosa

        As I know, it appeared only in KitKat and I can’t disable every app, even if it’s not important like stock Gallery or Live Wallpapers. And some phones doesn’t have root access or unlock feature, or even root access. Also, some manufactures are providing unlock feature, but then your phone isn’t under warranty, which is also bad (and against the law, btw). So, a lot of troubles are waiting for you if you’ll decide to remove Google+.

        • abhish3k

          Woah!, you’re are highly misinformed.
          First of all, the ‘disable’ feature has been in Android from Jelly Bean (4.1) for a ‘non-rooted’ device.
          I could imagine you being frustrated by ‘Google+’ as it may be running in the background consuming your RAM but ‘Stock Gallery’ , ‘Live Wallpapers’? Seriously? Dude, they don’t even run in the background unless you are using them. Stock Android doesn’t even has Gallery. There is only ‘Photos’ which acts like a Gallery and also backs up your photos into the cloud.
          Here is a simple fix : Clear the ‘Data’ of the app by selecting the app from ‘Apps’ in ‘Settings’ and hide the app from app drawer by using a good launcher (Apex, Nova etc.) or don’t simply tap on them forever.

          Secondly, Phones come ‘unlocked’ from the OEM (manufacturer) by default. It’s the carriers (e.g – Verizon, AT&T) in your country that lock the bootloader and don’t allow you to unlock unless you have terminated your contract. Warranty is provided either way.

          And, I have good news for you! FCC has passed a bill on February 11th, 2015 forcing the carriers to unlock the phones upon user’s request. So, NOT illegal anymore!

        • abhish3k

          Here are some referance links –

          More details :

  • Johann Q

    In retail, you can’t sell one product below cost (to drive out competitors etc.) and cross-subsidize with revenues from other products or markets – it’s illegal dumping. If this was just applied to software, web and mobile, this discussion would become unnecessary.

  • Another problem is that if you use gmail on a android phone. You cannot sign out of that account unless you set the mobile back to factory settings