October 2, 2022
Google fined KRW 207 billion by South Korean antitrust agency for abusing market dominance

Google was fined KRW 207 billion (about Rs 1,300 crore) by South Korea’s antitrust regulator, saying the US tech giant abused its dominant market position to restrict competition in the mobile operating system market .

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has investigated Google for allegedly preventing local smartphone makers from customizing their Android OS.

The fines are the latest antitrust blow for Google in South Korea. Earlier this month, parliament passed a bill to force major app store operators like Google to force software developers to use their payment systems and effectively bar developers from charging commissions on in-app purchases .

The KFTC said this could be the ninth largest fine ever imposed.

It said Google has hindered market competition by requiring smartphone makers to comply with an “Anti-Fragmentation Agreement (AFA)” when signing major contracts with Google regarding App Store licenses.

Under the AFA, device manufacturers were not allowed to install modified versions of Android, known as “Android forks”, on their devices.

KFTC said the practice has helped Google consolidate its market dominance in the mobile OS market.

Google was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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