Yan­dex wins as Google loses an­titrust probe in Rus­sia

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Stocks of com­pa­nies that do busi­ness in or ben­e­fit from Rus­sia have been pounded over the past year. Yan­dex N.V. (NAS­DAQ: YNDX) has some­times been called by out­siders as the “Google of Rus­sia.” That means that it has not been im­mune from the mar­ket selling. Now a lo­cal court rul­ing in Rus­sia is help­ing Yan­dex.

Google Inc. (NAS­DAQ: GOOGL) was found to have vi­o­lated Rus­sian an­titrust laws by re­quir­ing that man­u­fac­tur­ers pre-in­stall its search and ser­vices on their de­vices. Yan­dex had com­plained ear­lier to Rus­sia’s Fed­eral Anti-Mo­nop­oly Ser­vice. It had re­quested that Google should be forced into un­bundling its ser­vices from the An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem and the ap­pli­ca­tion plat­form in Google Play.

Yan­dex’s com­plaint was re­ported to be that An­droid’s de­fault op­tions pushed mo­bile Web users to Google’s own ser­vices rather than to other ser­vices. This in­cluded maps and search func­tions of Google, and Yan­dex said that the ef­forts of Google lim­ited con­sumers’ from Yan­dex and oth­ers.

While 24/7 Wall St. has not tracked any rank­ings and rat­ings on Yan­dex in Rus­sia and in other coun­tries, out­side re­ports showed that Yan­dex had been los­ing mar­ket share to Google.

The re­al­ity is this is more of a gain for Yan­dex than it is a ma­jor loss for Google. Many such rul­ings are ap­pealed. Some­times they re­main in place, some­times they are over­turned. Yan­dex is be­lieved to be more en­trenched in Rus­sia as “be­ing more Rus­sian,” but pre­dict­ing how rul­ings and treat­ment will be in Rus­sia is of­ten hard to do on a his­toric view.

There is also a po­ten­tial ques­tion about whether Rus­sia might just be favour­ing a lo­cal com­pany over an Amer­i­can one. Af­ter all, it is not as if re­la­tions be­tween the United States and Rus­sia are on solid ground.

Yan­dex’s shares listed in New York traded up 6.9% to

choices on

ser­vices $12.05. It has a 52-week range of $9.94 to $31.59. Google shares closed down 0.4% at $623.24, against a 52-week range of $486.23 to $678.64.

Rus­sia’s FAS said back on Fe­bru­ary 20: “The Fed­eral An­ti­monopoly Ser­vice (FAS Rus­sia) opened pro­ceed­ings against Google Inc. upon el­e­ments of vi­o­lat­ing the an­ti­monopoly law. Ear­lier the An­ti­monopoly Ser­vice re­ceived a com­plaint from Yan­dex about an­ti­com­pet­i­tive ac­tions of Google.”

The Head of FAS, Igor Artemiev pointed out that “the EC has been con­duct­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­ready a long time, Amer­i­can Courts al­ready made sev­eral de­ci­sions on the is­sue. We have been mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely for long, and when Yan­dex ap­proached us, we opened a case against Google.”

FAS sus­pects that Google vi­o­lated Part 1 Ar­ti­cle 14 of No.135-FZ Fed­eral Law “On Pro­tec­tion of Com­pe­ti­tion” and, pos­si­bly, some other Ar­ti­cles of No.135-FZ.

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