Russia’s anti-trust authority on Thursday fined Google 438 million rubles ($6.75 million) after finding it guilty of abusing its dominant market position by forcing smartphone makers to install its search engine on Androids.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service in September last year deemed Google in breach of a law on “protecting competition” after an investigation following a complaint by Russia’s largest search engine, Yandex.
Yandex asked the anti-trust authorities to prevent Android phones from being automatically bundled with Google’s search engine.
The FAS said that Google has two months to pay the fine.
Yelena Zayeva, the head of its department for regulating communications and IT was quoted in the statement as saying the ruling “will allow the development of competition on the mobile software market in Russia, which will have a positive effect for consumers.”
All companies whose production is on sale in Russia have to observe the law on competition, “including transnational corporations,” Zayeva added.
Google said in a statement sent to AFP: “We have received notice of the fine from FAS and will analyze closely before deciding our next steps.”
“In the meantime, we continue to talk to all invested parties to help consumers, device manufacturers and developers thrive on Android in Russia,” Google said.
The tech giant’s Android operating system dominates the smartphone market with a share of around 80 percent, which enables Google to offer search and other services to handset users.
Russia’s anti-trust authority had been holding consultations with Google aimed at reaching an amicable agreement, but this required Google to admit guilt.
Google has insisted that consumers are free to choose whether to use its services.
Google has been hit by similar anti-trust charges in other countries, particularly in the European Union, which has launched three cases against Google, one of which is specifically about using the dominance of the Android mobile phone operating system to restrict competition.
Russia’s anti-trust authority this week also launched legal proceedings against US tech giant Apple over the alleged fixing of resellers’ prices for iPhones in the country.
Apple said in a statement sent to AFP: “Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world.”
Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.
In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.
Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.
According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”
Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.
Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.
For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co
Carbon Acquires Vella Finance to Enhance SME Offerings
Digital financial services provider Carbon has completed the acquisition of Vella Finance, a Nigerian fintech company specializing in serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The acquisition, announced through an official statement on Wednesday, signifies Carbon’s strategic move to bolster its SME offerings.
Although the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, Carbon’s acquisition of Vella Finance, founded two years ago under its parent company, One Credit Limited, underscores its commitment to expanding its footprint in the fintech space.
Vella Finance’s expertise in AI-powered SME banking solutions particularly caught the attention of Carbon.
Through this acquisition, Carbon aims to leverage Vella Finance’s innovative technology to provide actionable insights from financial transactions to its SME customers.
Tolu Adedayo, co-founder and COO of Vella Finance, expressed enthusiasm about the integration, noting that several team members from Vella Finance have joined Carbon following the acquisition.
Adedayo further revealed that Vella Finance’s 8,000 SME customers would be transitioned to Carbon Business in the near future.
Chijioke Dozie, co-founder of Carbon, emphasized the alignment of values and vision between Carbon and Vella Finance, highlighting the potential for synergies and growth in the SME banking segment.
The acquisition marks a significant milestone for both companies as they aim to revolutionize financial services for SMEs in Nigeria.
Alibaba Eyes Gulf Expansion, Seeks Partnerships in Saudi and UAE Markets
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the prominent Chinese e-commerce giant, is actively pursuing expansion into the Gulf region, notably in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Alibaba’s president, Michael Evans, revealed the company’s strategy during a panel discussion at Dubai’s World Government Summit, highlighting a commitment to local partnerships as a key aspect of their approach.
Evans underscored Alibaba’s recent endeavors in Saudi Arabia, indicating a concerted effort to deepen its presence in the region’s burgeoning e-commerce landscape.
The move signifies Alibaba’s strategic pivot towards collaborative ventures following a period of strategic realignment prompted by government scrutiny and leadership changes.
The Gulf’s growing ties with China, driven by mutual economic interests and investment diversification initiatives, present an opportune moment for Alibaba’s expansion efforts.
However, geopolitical complexities, including heightened US scrutiny of China-linked entities, add a layer of challenge to Alibaba’s Gulf aspirations.
As Alibaba seeks to reclaim its leadership position in the global tech industry, the pursuit of partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the UAE underscores the company’s adaptive approach to international expansion.
The success of these ventures could potentially reshape the Gulf’s e-commerce landscape and deepen economic ties between the region and China.
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