South Korea Fines Google $177M For Abusing Market Dominance

South Korea’s antitrust regulator has fined Google 207 billion won (US$176.64 million) for blocking customized versions of its Android operating system (OS), in the US technology giant’s second setback in the country in less than a month.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) stated on Tuesday, September 14, that Google’s contract terms with device makers amounted to an abuse of its dominant market position that restricted competition in the mobile OS market.

Google said in a statement it intends to appeal the ruling, stating that it ignores the benefits offered by Android’s compatibility with other programs and undermines advantages enjoyed by consumers.

“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,” KFTC Chairperson Joh Sung-wook said in a statement.

The antitrust regulator stated this could be the ninth-largest fine it has ever imposed.

The KFTC claimed Google hampered competition by making device producers abide by an “anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA)” when signing key contracts with it regarding app store licenses.

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