Russia is convinced that Google's policies on pre-installed Android apps are anti-competitive, and it's now drawing a line in the sand. The country's regulators have ordered Google to remove restrictions on bundled third-party apps by November 18th if it wants to avoid stiff fines, which could include up to 15 percent of its Russian revenue from last year. That means allowing device makers to load directly competitive apps and search widgets, even if it means bumping Google's own software to lesser positions on your home screen.
We've reached out to Google for its response to the deadline, including whether or not this will have ramifications outside of Russia. No matter what, this leaves Google in a tight spot. The Alphabet-owned company now has to either bend on its longstanding app strategy or risk missing out on one of the biggest mobile markets on the planet. Both could prove expensive -- Android's revenue model revolves around steering people toward Google search ads and services, and that's much less likely to happen when you see alternatives like Yandex (which filed the antitrust complaint) front and center.