For using its dominant role to eliminate local competitors, Google has been fined 42.1 billion won (roughly $32 million) by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission.
Google will need to pay $32 million (equal to 42.1 billion won) after South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission accused the company of using its market position to remove a competitor in the mobile app industry.
Reports state that Google has been accused by the South Korean regulator of hindering the advancement of its local rival platform One Store.
From June 2016 to April 2018, it’s claimed that Google pressured Korean video game companies to only release their new games on the Play Store, with One Store remaining untouchable. In exchange, these developers were promised useful in-app exposure and other types of Google support designed to expand their worldwide presence.
The Korean gaming industry is largely controlled by two forces: Google Play and One Store. These two powerhouses account for over 90% of domestic sales. Market share statistics show that Google’s already large share in the mobile Android app market skyrocketed from 80% to a whopping 90-95% in just two years, between 2016-2018. Meanwhile, One Store’s share fell from 15-20% down to a mere 5-10% in the same period, according to data compiled by the watchdog agency KFTC.
The agency implicated Google in causing harm and pointed out that it was NCSoft, Netmarble, and Nexon, as well as smaller development firms, who were most affected.
Moving forward, the best course of action for Google will be determined after a thorough review following the reception of the final written decision. Supporting developers remains a strong commitment for the tech giant, and thus they disagree with the KFTC’s findings, a representative from Google stated.
Google has been slapped with a fine by the Korean antitrust watchdog as a measure to prevent the exploitation of its dominant position in the app market and ensure the field remains even.
South Korea’s antitrust regulator issued a hefty $212.44 million penalty against Google in the year 2021 over the exploitation of their monopoly in the mobile app and operating system fields. Specifically, a whopping $174.5 million of the fine was for their forceful pre-installation of Google’s search engine and additional apps onto device producers. The remainder of $37.94 million was for impeding app developers’ capacity to deliver their own payment systems.