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Google found to 'abuse' dominant market position in Russia

The search giant faces more scrutiny in Europe. This time, Russia says Google is being anticompetitive with business practices around its Android mobile operating system.

Google faces more antitrust scrutiny in Europe. Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis

Google may have to change the way it does business in Russia, if a local watchdog has its way.

Russia's antimonopoly agency said Monday the search giant violated federal law -- specifically, it called out what it sees as an "abuse of dominant position" -- in the country, according to a Google Translate translation of the agency's statement.

The probe examines whether Google acted unfairly in bundling its own services -- like Google Maps, search and YouTube -- with its Android mobile operating system software, which powers more than 80 percent of the world's smartphones.

The agency, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service, has 10 days to issue a full ruling. In the ruling, Russia can outline adjustments to Google's agreements with mobile-device manufacturers, according to the translated statement.

But while Google was found guilty of market abuses, a Russian antitrust regulator told The Wall Street Journal the Mountain View, California-based company wasn't found guilty of "unfair competition practices."

"We haven't yet received the ruling," a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "When we do, we will study it and determine our next steps."

Russia's stance is just the latest salvo in a five-year skirmish between Google and Europe. The search giant has been the target of an antitrust investigation by the European Union over the way it displays search results. The probe alleges Google unfairly prioritizes its own services -- particularly Google Shopping -- over its competitors. The intensified scrutiny underscores a growing concern about the power of technology and Silicon Valley's influence on our lives.

Last month, Google rebuffed the EU's official charges, saying the commission was "incorrect." The European Commission has also opened a separate investigation similar to the Russian probe, which examines Google's bundling of services on Android.

In February, Yandex, Russia's biggest search engine, filed a complaint against Google and its business practices around Android. "We welcome the positive ruling of the Federal Antimonopoly Service," a Yandex spokesman said in a statement Monday.

"Although the European Commission has already begun a formal investigation in relation to these same practices, Russia is the first jurisdiction to have officially recognized these practices as anticompetitive," the spokesman said.