The South Korean competition authority said Tuesday it will fine Google KRW 207.4 billion ($ 176.9 million) for claiming to have used its dominant position in operating system mobile phones to stifle competition.
Google’s Android operating system currently holds the lion’s share of the smartphone market ahead of Apple’s iOS platform.
The U.S. technology giant has reportedly used its market position to prevent smartphone manufacturers like Samsung from using operating systems developed by its competitors, according to the Korean Fair Trade Commission.
Yonhap News added that the regulator, which published its decision in Korean, said the technology giant urged smartphone manufacturers to accept an “anti-fragmentation agreement” (AFA) when it signed key agreements with Google on App Store licenses and early access to the operating system. system.
The deal prevented device manufacturers from installing customized versions of Android forks, called Android forks, on their phones, Yonhap said.
The regulator claimed that Google’s policy stifled innovation in the development of new smartphone operating systems, the news site added. According to Yonhap, KFTC has asked the technology giant to stop forcing companies to sign the AFA and order it to take corrective action.
A Google representative said that the Android Compatibility Program is a program that has always encouraged hardware and software innovation and has been a great success for Korean phone manufacturers and developers.
“KFTC’s decision released today ignores these benefits and undermines consumer benefits. The spokesman also told CNBC, “Google wants to appeal the KFTC’s recent decision.”
Tuesday’s fine is small compared to the technology giant’s quarterly figures. In the fourth quarter, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, generated $ 61.88 billion.
However, Tuesday’s decision is the latest setback for a South Korean technology company.
At the end of August, the country’s parliament passed a bill that would allow app developers to avoid paying high fees to large app store operators, including Google, by requiring users to pay through other platforms.