Yandex extends Google antitrust battle to the EU

Yandex, the biggest search website in Russia, has asked the European Commission to investigate alleged anti-competitive practices by Google related to how it bundles its services on Android devices.

Last month the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) ruled that the Google’s practices in relation to Android was breaking the law. Yandex was at forefront of bringing the complaint forward to the FAS.

Russia’s antitrust watchdog told Google to draft new agreements with smartphone vendors allowing the installation of third-party services.

Yandex is now extending the legal battle with Google over its practices with Android to the European Union.

Yandex vs Google

“We think that the Russian finding of abuse of dominance is instructive, and is a conclusion that can readily be adopted in other jurisdictions, including the EU,” Yandex said in a statement on Friday.

Yandex said that the outcome of the European Commission’s investigation will determine business development in Europe.

“We hope the European Commission … offers their help in restoring fair competition and ensuring equal opportunity to pre-install mobile applications on Android-based devices not only for Google, but also for other developers,” it said.

Fair competition refers to a market in which all competitors operate on a level playing field, i.e., none of them has an unfair advantage.

Someone familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Google plans to appeal the Russian decision.

Alastair Chapman, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which represents Yandex in the EU proceedings, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:

“The EC will carry out its own processes. However, given that Google’s anti-competitive practices are the same in Europe as in Russia, the Commission will hopefully take note of the FAS decision.”

Yandex has a search market share of approximately 60% in Russia.