Russian Yandex reaches settlement in search engine dispute

AYandex dds statement, details, background

MOSCOW, January 19 (Reuters)Russian tech giant Yandex YNDX.O said on Wednesday it had reached a settlement agreement in a competition law dispute over its search engine results with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and a consortium of IT companies.

FAS told Yandex last February that it had created uneven market conditions for general online search services, which it preferentially promotes its own products, and asked it to stop. Yandex then said it was ready to defend its position.

Nasdaq-listed Yandex said the settlement confirms it has met all requirements of the disclaimer, closed the case without any fines, and set out some additional obligations for Yandex to compete, including sharing information with the FAS.

Additionally, Yandex said it would establish a joint program to help Russian tech companies promote their products and services, donating 1.5 billion rubles ($19.6 million) to the Russian Fund for Technology Development. some information.

FAS said in a statement that the deal was approved by the Moscow Arbitration Court after all parties had signed.

About 20 Russian internet companies signed an open letter last year supporting FAS efforts. In it, they accused Yandex of abusing its dominant market position and urged it to establish a level playing field for fair competition in online searches.

The FAS later filed an antitrust action against Yandex, saying it would investigate possible anti-competitive practices and assess their consequences.

The dispute centered on the enriched search, which gives users more detailed results on searches for things like events and recipes.

Yandex said it uses the global practice of rich search results to improve user experience, and more than 30,000 companies use its rich search technology for free.

($1 = 76.3908 rubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; additional reporting by Marina Bobrova, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

((Gabrielle.Tetrault-Farber@thomsonreuters.com;))

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