South Korean anti-trust regulator Google has been fined KRW207 billion ($ 177 million) for blocking customization of its Android mobile phone operating system.
The move is important because of the leading position of Korean companies Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics in the mobile handset, tablet and wearable market.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said Tuesday that Google has abused and defended its market dominance by signing up device makers for “anti-partition agreements.” KFTC said companies could not launch new products on time due to Google’s “disruption”.
KFTC has imposed the ninth largest fine so far. Its ruling specifically prohibits Google from forcing manufacturers to sign the AFA.
“The Fair Trade Commission’s move was not limited to mobile devices, but corrective measures include emerging smart device-related areas such as smartwatches and smart TVs. Therefore, we expect new innovations to occur as some competitive pressures are activated in the region, ”KFTC Chairman Joh Sung-Uk said in a briefing.
Google, which insists Android has helped the company innovate, has indicated it will appeal the decision. The statement said, “KFTC’s decision, published today, ignores these benefits and will undermine the benefits enjoyed by consumers.”
But, in another move, Tuesday was also the first day of effect of the law passed in August, dubbed the “anti-Google law.” The law prohibits app store operators from allowing software developers to use their payment systems, which limits developers from charging commissions on in-app purchases. They now have to open their stores in an external payment system.
Bloomberg reports that KFTC is “investigating three more lawsuits related to its Google Play Store app market, in-app purchases and advertising in the advertising market.”