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Google has been fined more than £5 million (438 million rubles, $6.8 million) and told to slacken limits it places on device makers by Russian authorities who found that the search and ad giant had breached competition rules with its Android mobile operating system.On Thursday, the country’s Federation Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) said that Google forced mobile phone manufacturers to include Google search on the home screen of all Android devices and bundling other services with Google Play, while preventing manufacturers from pre-installing competing services.
The case was opened in February 2014, when one of those rivals, Yandex, filed an official complaint against Google. Last year, the authorities decided that it had broken Russian competition law.
The ruling was upheld again in March, when Google lost an appeal.
FAS said in a statement that Russian law applies to all companies operating in the country.
The fine—standing at almost £5.25 million—is small change compared to the Internet behemoth’s $74.5 billion global annual turnover. Russian authorities may only fine up to 15 percent of domestic earnings.
“We have received notice of the fine from FAS and will analyse it closely before deciding our next steps.
In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia,” said Google’s press office.
Google faces similar antitrust charges in the European Union, where potential penalties are more severe.
In April, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager sent a Statement of Objections to the company saying Google had abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device makers and ordering it to clean up its act or face a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual turnover.
While Russia’s fine against Google is tiny, an order from the FAS demanding that the ad giant change the restrictions it places on device makers in the country could prove to be more damaging.
Google is appealing against the order, with a hearing scheduled for August 16.
This story was updated after publication with comment from Google.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK
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