Google has been fined 207.4 billion won (about $177 million) in South Korea for abusing its dominant market position to prevent device manufacturers from using modified versions of Android.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) deals with anti-retail agreements that the search giant forces manufacturers like Samsung to sign, preventing them from making changes to the operating system.
The search giant’s ruling prohibits forcing manufacturers to sign such anti-fragmentation agreements. It is also required to amend existing agreements.
The regulator is concerned that restricting these ramifications across the operating system has prevented Android competitors from emerging like Amazon and Alibaba from emerging.
Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world. As a result, it is installed on more than 80 percent of smartphones globally.
Although the core of Android is open source. But manufacturers have to sign anti-retail agreements. This is in order to get benefits such as early access to the operating system as well as access to the Google Play Store, which is an essential part of the Android experience for most smartphone users.
“The decision provides an opportunity to restore future competitive pressure in the mobile operating system and app market,” said the head of the Korea Fair Trade Commission. He added that the fine could be the ninth largest ever issued by the regulator.
In a statement, a Google spokesperson said the company did not agree with the ruling. He argued that Android’s policies allowed Korean phone manufacturers and developers to succeed, and created opportunities for innovation.
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A Korean fine against Google amounting to 177 million dollars
A company spokesperson said: The committee’s decision ignores these benefits. It undermines the advantages enjoyed by consumers. as a result The company plans to appeal the ruling.
Google previously said anti-fragmentation agreements are necessary to ensure apps work across more Android phones.
In addition to smartphones, Android is used by devices such as smart watches and smart TVs.
The Korean regulator said the ruling also applies to these other categories. The corrective actions included emerging areas related to smart devices such as smart watches and smart TVs.
Moreover, the ruling comes on the same day that the anti-Google law takes effect in South Korea.
As a result, the new law requires major platform owners to allow developers to use third-party payment systems in their apps.
Both companies had previously asked developers to use in-app payments for in-app purchases. In most cases, this results in the two companies collecting 30 percent of transactions.
Similarly, a US judge ruled last week that Apple cannot prevent developers from engaging with other payment methods as a result of legal actions brought by Epic Games.
Reports indicate that the Korean regulator is also investigating competition restrictions in the Google Play Store, in-app purchases, and the ad market.
Read also: Korea forces Apple and Google to open App Store payments