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Antitrust Complaints Against Google in South Korea Over Android

NHN Corp. and Daum Communications, owners of South Korea’s largest search engines have filed complaints against Google with the country’s Fair Trade Commission, alleging that local phone carriers and manufacturers in South Korea were banned from embedding their search applications on mobile devices running on Google’s Android operating system.

According to Bloomberg NHN’s complaint alleges “Google has banned South Korean phone manufacturers from including Web search apps made by other companies under its marketing contracts . . . [and] Daum learned about Google’s practices while trying to have its apps installed and has evidence to prove its claims.”

NHN alleges that Google “delayed certifying the use of its software for handset makers,” with Daum adding that it has evidence to prove its claims that Google banned “search applications made by other companies.”

The two companies alleging anti-competitive behavior are NHN Corp., operator of Naver, South Korea’s most popular search engine, and Daum Communications Corp. Google has a 20% mobile market share in South Korea, despite only having 2% market share of desktop search (Naver and Daum’s search engines account for about 90% of desktop searches combined).

“Android is an open platform, and carriers and partners are free to decide which applications and services to include,” Lois Kim, a Seoul-based spokeswoman for Google, said today by phone. “We’re looking forward to working with the FTC to address any questions they may have.”

[Source: Bloomberg]

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