The Competition Practice team of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners successfully defended the interests of Yandex — Russia's largest IT company — against Google, in the former’s claim that the latter had abused the market in relation to pre-installed app stores for devices on the Android operating system.
In February 2015, Yandex appealed to the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS Russia) with complaints that Google had violated the Russian antimonopoly legislation. According to Yandex, Google’s actions led to manufacturers’ failure to pre-install apps from developers other than Google on mobile devices with the Android operation system. Thus Google limited the competition in terms of mobile applications for Android devices.
On September 18, 2015, FAS Russia ruled that Google had indeed infringed upon the country's antitrust laws by abusing its dominant position, and required the company to make changes in all existing agreements and treaties that contain any requirements for pre-installation of Google apps by November, 18, 2015.
In addition, FAS Russia ordered Google to notify users about the option of de-activating the preinstalled Google apps, the option to change the default search engine in Google Chrome browser, the option to install a different search widget or other apps similar to those within the Google package, and the option to rearrange the positon of app icons on their devices.
According to EPAM, “this outcome is of great importance for the market. At its core, the FAS decision establishes fair rules of the game, ensuring free competition between developers, whose applications and services compete with Google products, as well as helping to protect the interests of the mobile app manufacturers and direct users."
The EPAM team was supervised by Partner and Head of Competition Practice Natalia Korosteleva, and included Counsels Evgeny Bolshakov and Denis Gavrilov, Associates Oxana Akhmedova and Grigory Shafeev, and Junior Associate Igor Gavrilov.
Korosteleva declared the decision by FAS Russia "certainly a milestone.” She continued: “We are talking about the largest world player using global anti-competitive practices aimed at excluding its competitors. The FAS decision and improvement notice look balanced and reasonable. It is known that a similar investigation against Google is now underway in Europe. Hopefully, the FAS conclusions will be also reflected in the European Commission’s decision.”