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The deputy head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), Alexei Dotsenko, announced the news today, confirming the deal.

Google settled its dispute with Russia's antitrust watchdog in an agreement that opens the way for local search engine Yandex (YNDX) to be preinstalled on Android devices.

In 2015, FAS found that the required pre-installation of apps on Android phones in Russian Federation was anti-competitive.

The suit followed a complaint from Yandex, a major Russian search company, which is one of the biggest winners of this settlement.

While Google never outright required manufacturers to pre-load its apps, its previous rules made it so that companies producing Android-powered phones had to either install all of Google's core apps - Gmail, a browser with Google default search, and, most importantly, the Google Play app store - or none at all.

The settlement ends a two-year fight with Russian antitrust regulators.

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Alexei Dotsenko, FAS deputy head, told reporters that "Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russian Federation and will not restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other applications".

The FAS Russia found violations in the Google's actions which resulted in prohibition of pre-installation of other developers' competing applications. Google had been appealing the decision prior to the recent settlement.

"Rival search engines and mobile operating systems have not been able to compete on their merits".

In a few months, Google will create for new devices in Russian Federation a new Chrome widget that will replace the current Google search widget on the home screen. Russian users didn't have the option of changing to a different search engine on those phones.

For the devices that are now circulating on the Russian market, Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser which at the time of the next update will provide the user with the opportunity to choose their default search engine.

"Implementation of the settlement's terms will be an effective means to secure competition between developers of mobile applications". The agreement was signed for six years and nine months.


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