S. Korea fines Google $177M for abusing market power

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced today that it has fined tech giant Google $177 million (207 billion won) for abusing market dominance and preventing competition in the Android ecosystem.

According to KFTC’s statement, Google has prevented market competition by not allowing smartphone manufacturers such as LG and Samsung Electronics to use customized versions of its Android operating system, known as ‘Android forks’, through its anti-fragmentation agreements (AFA).

Under the ruling, Google is now barred from requiring manufacturers to sign its AFA agreements. 

A Google spokesperson said that the company would appeal the ruling which ‘ignores the benefits’ its Compatibility program provides for software developers and manufacturers and ‘’will undermine the advantages enjoyed by consumers.’’ 

KFTC Chairperson Joh Sung-wook said: “The Korea Fair Trade Commission’s decision is meaningful in a way that it provides an opportunity to restore future competitive pressure in the mobile OS and app market markets.”

In addition to the fine, an amendment to South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act, known as the ‘’Anti-Google law’’, has gone into effect today banning app store operators including Google and Apple to prevent devs to use third-party in-app payment methods. 

Written by Sophie Blake

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