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Yandex Seeks Russian Antitrust Investigation Into Google Search Bundling on Android

     
11:21 am on Feb 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you're in the search business you'd want to be able to pre-install your services on Android, and it seems that now Yandex can no longer be pre-installed by Yandex partners.

Specifically, it wants the regulator to look at Google’s Android operating system and how Google bundles its search engine as the default on all Android devices. Android accounts for 86% of all smartphones sold in Russia today, and with Google’s search services the default on those devices, Yandex (and other search providers) face a big challenge competing against it for mobile search.Yandex Seeks Russian Antitrust Investigation Into Google Search Bundling on Android [techcrunch.com]
“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,” said Yandex spokesperson Ochir Mandzhikov. “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.”
9:55 pm on Feb 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm besides myself, locked in a stunned state of ironic disbelief, this is precious.

From the country that allows our copyrights to be trampled, the source of mega spam and epic hacks, probably the controller of some of the biggest botnets in the world, and they cry foul?

If Yandex wants to be the default search engine than Yandex should grab a copy of Linux and build their own damn cell phone.

Better yet, just use the natural resources on hand to make some apps that hack Yandex into the search engine for Android the way they normally do things.

Amusing that they aren't targeting Apple which has a default engine locked into Siri, hmmm.
10:44 pm on Feb 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't it be simpler just to pull up articles from ten years ago and replace all occurrences of "Microsoft" with "Google"?
3:59 am on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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“We believe that device manufacturers should have a choice as to which search provider to set as the default...

I'm no Google fan boy, but what do "device manufacturers" have to do with it? Google makes Android. They have the right to default their own software on their own software, duh. They have to choose some SE as the default. What are they supposed to do, choose some other company?

The user can easily switch default to any SE they wish in settings. I switch SEs all the time.

And I agree with incrediBill, A Russian company calling foul is pretty rich.
5:00 am on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suspect there's a way the telco provider can change the defaults just like Sprint, Verizon, etc. customize Android with apps and such.

If that is in fact the case, Yandex would simply partner with a Russian telco and problem solved.

If that isn't the case, where a phone provider can't customize the default search, that could be an issue.

However, if they did switch defaults, I'm pretty sure Yandex doesn't supply the rich depth of APIs and searches used by Android throughout the OS and all the apps so they're probably putting the cart a bit ahead of the horse at this point in time.

Also, would it be fair to use Google's services for part of the search process but only Yandex for the raw search results?

For instance, Google provides voice search, does Yandex? Would Yandex expect Google to supply speech to text processing on Google's cloud yet deliver Yandex search results?

Same with translations, maps, etc.

Would that mean switching to Yandex then causes Android to lose features, such as speech to text, maps, object recognition or anything else Yandex currently doesn't provide as Google's search offering in Android runs deep with many aspects not covered in this shallow request.

What about ads? Does replacing search imply replacing the ads as well? Or the ad platforms used by the apps?
6:48 am on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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From the country that allows our copyrights to be trampled, the source of mega spam and epic hacks, probably the controller of some of the biggest botnets in the world, and they cry foul?

A Russian company calling foul is pretty rich.

so russian companies have nothing to say per se, because they are all hackers and spammers and their products suck anyway.

is that the level at which we communicate here? then good night webmasterworld.

lucy is right, it remembers of windows and ie. maybe it's a valid anti-trust case against product bundling.
9:54 am on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A Russian company calling foul is pretty rich.

I don't believe you can paint a broad brush like that. It's seeking a level playing field, and it's just not right to assume everyone is the same. That was a mix of metaphors.

There's a serious point in this approach by Yandex. They are the number one search in Russia, and they appear to be being excluded from an "open source" mobile os, where the default search is Google. There are many parallels in business, and that's why there are regulatory authorities to look into these things. Consumer choice is being removed.
11:19 am on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Consumer choice is being removed.

No that is not accurate. As noted above, the consumer can choose any SE they want on an Android device. Changing the default SE is transparent and simple to do, taking only 2 steps.
11:52 am on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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the consumer can choose any SE they want on an Android device. Changing the default SE is transparent and simple to do, taking only 2 steps.

Choice? yes!
Informed choice? That is another matter entirely!

It's only a true choice if the factory setting is to have no default SE thus forcing the consumer to select one.
12:12 pm on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Choice? yes!
Informed choice? That is another matter entirely!
It's only a true choice if the factory setting is to have no default SE thus forcing the consumer to select one.

Sorry, that makes no sense IMO. Where is that done, on what device? There needs to be a default for functionality.

If Yandex wants to be the default on new phones, let them write an OS and put themselves in it. End of story.
2:00 pm on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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From what I have read above*, I'd guess that Yandex is totally correct to ask for search engine choice to be offered on Android devices.
Note that I say 'offered'. I'm sure there are many users that don't realise that the default can be changed. I feel that this option should be clearly stated and offered.
Early on, I was informed, by a friend, not M$, that I could use Netscape as a browser (Netscape 2, actually), rather than ME. M$ did not let me know this. Surely, this was why so many called foul at M$?

As an aside, I find the comments related to Russia somewhat extremist, if not offensive......
Yes, a level playing field, or don't sit in the judges box.

*I don't use mobile devices on the Internet.
2:11 pm on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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engine, I wish you were right in saying being highly suspect of a web service from Russia was being unfair or paranoid. One of my clients (in the US) maintains an apartment in Moscow and has someone from their firm working there most of the time. I've work with some of these people twice a year. These are very kind and sophisticated people with a large and careful vocabulary, not prone to extreme or emotional statements. So, when they tell me "the Russian culture is corrupt" and they "don't trust anyone there," I have a hard time dismissing it.

You've implied that Bill's response here to your post is sounds a touch narrowminded. It's not.

Someone needs to come up with some first-hand reports where a company in the west made money and were treated fairly in a deal with Russia. Surely they are out there. I haven't seen them, however.
2:13 pm on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's confusion on this. Yandex is not asking to be the default. They want investigation because they are no longer pre-installed as an option to google, which is the default.

Yes, anyone can change the default search, but many people i know really don't want the hassle and stick with what's on the system. Here's an example of why it's important. [webmasterworld.com...]
7:29 pm on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No that is not accurate. As noted above, the consumer can choose any SE they want on an Android device. Changing the default SE is transparent and simple to do, taking only 2 steps.


It's easy for you. It will not be easy for the overwhelming majority of users who may be brilliant in their own careers but who just have no interest in interfering with technology products. Too many 'simple' changes can have unforeseen consequences and non-techies are often wise to steer away from them.

Yandex are perfectly entitled to complain to a Russian court about alleged anti-competitive actions in Russia by Google or anyone else, and that court is fully entitled to come to it's own conclusions.

As far as spam is concerned, I have, amongst others, a long list of USA service providers that I automatically block from every server I set up. Russians are not the only culprits by a long chalk.
9:34 pm on Feb 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Someone needs to come up with some first-hand reports where a company in the west made money and were treated fairly in a deal with Russia.


I have several Russian clients I have been dealing with for more than 25 years without any problems whatsoever. They know what they want, they know the quality they expect for the price and they don't play games unlike some countries I could mention!
7:03 am on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Someone needs to come up with some first-hand reports where a company in the westmade money and were treated fairly in a deal with Russia. Surely they are out there. I haven't seen them,however.


I worked for a major US software and hardware supplier. They were supplying a 20 mill$ solution to the russian state bank. The us company, in my opinion, took the russian bank to the cleaners big time. I worked on the project in moscow for six months so i did get a good insight into how the us company behaved.
the
Russians arent totally clean but nether are their western business partners
12:47 pm on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And there you have it, the case is opened.

Russia's Anti-Monopoly Service has opened a case against Google following a request from Russia's biggest search site Yandex, Interfax news agency reported on Friday citing the regulator.Reuters [reuters.com]


It'll be fascinating as to how this one works out.
2:24 pm on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Cadbury's chocolate company might have a few things to say about Hershey's US business practices.... ::)
10:26 am on Feb 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@keyplyr-

There needs to be a default for functionality.


@engine-

anyone can change the default search, but many people i know really don't want the hassle and stick with what's on the system.


I believe the compromise here is to have a default 'choose your SE' page (an about:blank, so to speak) and let the user choose. This is something I'd love to see on browsers, too; it would return choice in the user's hands.

Anyway, last time I checked Android was an open source OS (correct me if I'm wrong), so I can't see why should they involve regulators.
11:00 am on Feb 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I believe the compromise here is to have a default 'choose your SE' page (an about:blank, so to speak) and let the user choose. This is something I'd love to see on browsers, too; it would return choice in the user's hands.

As I've stated a couple times, at least on my phone, that is similar to the way it currently is. I can choose my default SE. There are also numerous apps that will add even more, not so well-known, SE functionality.

However, I have no idea how this is set-up in other countries, on other manufacture's devices & on other mobile carriers who always want to put their UI over the top of Android along with their business partners.
5:28 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What Yandex really wants to do is get manufacturers of Android phones to install its "Yandex Kit" instead of Google services and apps:

[kit.yandex.com...]

I don't know if phones that use the "Yandex Kit" offer Google apps and services as pre-installed alternatives to Yandex's products, but if they don't, I'd say this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Also:

In a quick search, I found that Yandex has 61.9 percent of the overall Russian search market and 44 percent of the Android search market. It's hard to see how Yandex needs defending by Russian trustbusters.
9:42 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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and 44 percent of the Android search market.

Within that Russian market share, correct?
10:53 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes.
4:45 am on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"It's hard to see how Yandex needs defending by Russian trustbusters."

My reading is that it's Google which needs reining in, just as they and Microsoft did in Europe.

"is that the level at which we communicate here?"

It seems to be limited to a number of individuals--we shouldn't repeat their mistake of tarring everyone else with one wide indiscriminate brush.

There are still a large number of very knowledgeable AND broad-minded people here, so while it's no longer the must-visit place it was in Brett Tabke's time [and maybe Brett's departure is not causal], it's still worth a monthly scan imo.

Continue to call out the unacceptable levels of communication, and it will either decline or flourish--either of which is a good result for the rest of the membership.
8:32 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My reading is that it's Google which needs reining in, just as they and
Microsoft did in Europe.


Why would Google need "reining in" in Russia, when Yandex is the dominant search engine?

This lawsuit isn't about antitrust, it's about protectionism.

This article, "Is Russia's Yandex beating Google at its own game?", may provide some useful context and background:

[digitaltrends.com...]
9:48 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My reading is that it's Google which needs reining in, just as they and Microsoft did in Europe.

This is unacceptable level of communication.
1:02 am on Feb 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This lawsuit isn't about antitrust

Firstly, it isn't a lawsuit.

It's an investigation by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, an official Russian body that deals with competition law (what is known as antitrust law in the United States).

According to the opening post, Yandex complained that some of their "long-term partners" (phone manufacturers) "have notified us that they are no longer able to pre-install Yandex services on their Android devices".

Hope this helps.

...
7:51 pm on Mar 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Why would Google need "reining in" in Russia, when Yandex is the dominant search engine?


Because it's leveraging its dominant Android position to aid its mobile search business. Same thing Microsoft got dinged for elsewhere last decade with Windows incorporating IE as the browser. If Google's action is ineffective, that doesn't mean it should get a free pass.
 

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