S. Korean Companies Claim Google’s Android Blocking Competing Search Apps

The 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 were banned from embedding their search applications on mobile devices running on Google’s Android operating system.

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 percent mobile market share in South Korea, despite only having 2 percent market share of desktop search (Naver and Daum’s search engines account for about 90 percent of desktop searches combined).

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.”

“Android is an open platform, and carriers and partners are free to decide which applications and services to include,” a Google spokeswoman told Bloomberg. “We’re looking forward to working with the FTC to address any questions they may have.”

Interestingly, earlier this week Google was quite pleased about the “momentum of the mobile ecosystem in South Korea,” noting a 67 times increase in monthly traffic while discussing a new mobile metrics report on the Google Ads Blog.

Yet another antitrust headache for Google, as it also faces an EU investigation, Texas investigation, and possible U.S. FTC antitrust investigation.

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