Google will still have to pay that fine, but in an out-of-court settlement with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation, it has agreed to loosen its hold on Android.
Within 60 days after the approval of the settlement agreement, all interested Russian search engines will be able to discuss with Google about any potential conditions of their inclusion to the choice screen next year.
The complainant party was Russian tech company Yandex, which accused Google of forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Play software on their devices.
Russia's competition watchdog, FAS, ruled in 2015 that Google was breaking the law by requiring the pre-installation of applications, including its own search tool, on mobile devices using Android, following a complaint by Russia's Yandex. Competition breeds innovation. It's our desire to participate in a market where users can choose the best services available.
For the devices that are now circulating on the Russian market, Google will develop an active "choice window" for the Chrome browser which at the time of the next update will provide the user with the opportunity to choose their default search engine. Russian antitrust regulators also fined the company $7.8 million. Google did not agree with the ruling and appealed to the court. These developments will help Google to fulfill their obligation to "not to restrict pre-installation of any competing search engines and applications". Any developer that signs a "commercial agreement" with Google can be included - Yandex is the first to sign up.
According to FAS, Google will also have to develop a "Chrome widget" that will replace the standard Google search widget on the Android home screen.
Shares in Google's local Russian rival, Yandex, rose more than 7% on the news.
"The settlement will have a positive effect on the market as a whole", FAS head Igor Artemiev said. The company was found guilty of abusing its dominant position in the market for mobile devices running on Android.