Yandex Wins Share in Android Search After Google Antitrust Case

  • Russian firm pre-installs its earch engine on Android phones
  • Google appealing Russian ruling, declines to comment further

Yandex NV said it has expanded its share of Russian internet searches on mobile devices that run Google’s Android operating system after winning a ruling against its giant U.S. rival by Russia’s antitrust regulator.

The company’s share on Android devices "started to grow again in late June as a result of new distribution deals" following last year’s decision against Google, Yandex said in a statement Thursday. Yandex said its market share on Android is now about 40 percent, but didn’t provide a comparative number.

The Russian regulator, FAS, ruled in September that Google abused its dominance on Android devices and later urged the Alphabet Inc. company to change agreements with vendors to allow them to preinstall third-party services, such as Yandex search. Google is still appealing the ruling, with the next hearing scheduled for August. The Russian watchdog’s decision was a boon to Yandex, which became Russia’s largest search engine by offering a better way to interpret Russian grammar.

"We believe that Google is loosening some of its explicit prohibitions against Yandex," Chief Operating Officer Alexander Shulgin said on conference call. The company was able to preinstall its services on second or third screens of some Android phones, he said, declining to name the specific manufacturers.

Google representatives declined to comment.

Still, the U.S. company continues to bundle its Google Play application store to its search and other services and requires vendors to place Google’s apps on the default home screen of devices, Shulgin said. Yandex hopes to get its services installed on the first screen of Android phones, once FAS’s ruling is enforced.

Moscow-based Yandex raised its full-year growth target on Thursday after second-quarter sales surged 30 percent to 18 billion rubles ($270 million), led by text-based advertising, online-taxi services and growth in e-commerce.

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