In letter : Google has been found in violation of competition law in South Korea after an investigation found it had forced OEMs to sign “anti-fragmentation agreements.” This is just one of the many fines imposed on the company in recent years, and it appears that more punitive measures are in the works.
Google is no stranger to antitrust fines. The latest comes from South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), which recently announced that it had fined the search giant 207.4 billion won ($ 177 million) for allegedly abused its market power in the Android ecosystem and stifled competition and innovation in mobile operations. systems.
According to the KFTC, the move is the result of an investigation that found Google was requiring phone makers to sign what is called an “anti-fragmentation deal.” This means that in order for an OEM to be able to access Android, it would have to agree to a set of conditions prohibiting the installation of forks – modified versions of Android – on its devices.
The KFTC ruled that this violated local antitrust law, so it ordered Google and its local affiliates to stop the practice and remove the requirement from its existing contracts. The Korean competition watchdog is also conducting three separate investigations into the Play Store, its billing system, and Google’s advertising practices, respectively.
A Google spokesperson explained that Android’s compatibility program has been conducive to the success of hardware and software innovators in the Android ecosystem. The company believes that “the KFTC ruling released today ignores these benefits and will undermine the benefits enjoyed by consumers.”
Google plans to appeal the KFTC ruling, which applies to more than smartphones – smartwatches, tablets, smart TVs and all other Android devices are included in the remedies. It also comes as South Korea passed its “anti-Google law,” which requires companies like Google and Apple to allow developers to bypass their payment systems on app stores.
The $ 177 million fine may seem like a slap on the wrist for Google, but it’s just one of a series of levies received this year.
In May, Google was fined $ 123 million in Italy for stifling competition in the Android Auto space. In July, France hit Google to the tune of $ 591 million for failing to negotiate fair deals with local news publishers. In the United States, the search giant faces its biggest antitrust lawsuit to date over its alleged control of Android through the Play Store.
Generic credit Kai Wenzel
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