The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia announced the initiation of a case against Yandex. The organization did not comply with the warning of the antitrust authority and continues to create discriminatory conditions in the Internet search market.
According to the FAS, the company provides Yandex group services with preferential opportunities to promote (attract users’ attention) services in the Yandex search engine. Such actions can lead to the creation of a discriminatory operating environment in the product markets adjacent to the search.
As part of the consideration of the case, the antimonopoly authority examines possible anticompetitive practices for promoting the services of the Yandex group in search results, and will also assess the consequences to which such practices have led (could have led).
If the fact of violation and restriction of competition is established, the company may be imposed a turnover fine on the amount of revenue in the market (in accordance with Article 14.31 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation).
On February 20, the FAS issued a warning to Yandex, according to which the organization had to ensure equal conditions for the demonstration of services on the pages of the search engine by April 1, 2021, including for market participants – competitors of the Yandex group. However, the warning was not followed.
Yandex announced that it did not agree with the decision, since the fulfillment of all the prescribed FAS requirements for search results tools would significantly worsen the quality of search for the user. And then, on April 1, the company filed a petition with the antimonopoly service to postpone the deadline for the execution of the decision by one month. The FAS took ten days to consider the petition and making a decision and, as we can see, have responded by initiating a case against Yandex.