South Korea seems to be on a crackdown of the Silicon Valley giants as days after forcing Apple to drop its App Store commission, the Korean Fair Trade Commission has imposed a $177 million fine on Google. According to Yonhap News, Korea’s antitrust authorities have slammed the hefty fees on Google for leveraging its dominant power in the smartphone market to stunt the development of competing operating systems. In simple terms, South Korean authorities feel Android’s dominance has hampered the development of alternate operating systems to Android.
The authorities say due to Google’s anti-fragmentation agreements (AFA) with Korean tech giants like Samsung and LG, they’ve not been able to develop their own operating system, but have to resort to creating forks of Google’s Android. In addition to the hefty $177 million fine, the commission has also banned the company from forcing manufacturers to sign AFAs going forward and to modify existing ones. Moreover, the regulatory is also investigating Google’s Play Store, implementation of in-app purchases, and advertising business as part of three separate inquiries.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Google said Android has said that it will appeal the decision. It claims Android has improved the user experience and accelerated innovation among Korean companies. “The KFTC’s decision released today ignores these benefits, and will undermine the advantages enjoyed by consumers,” the company said in a statement.
Fair Trade Commission says its “action was not limited to mobile devices, but corrective measures included emerging smart device-related areas such as smartwatches and smart TVs. Therefore, we expect that new innovations will occur as some competitive pressures in this area are activated.”