The Korean Fair Trade Commission acquitted Google of claims it was demonstrating an unfair advantage by preloading its search engine on Android phones.
The antitrust charges were originally brought about in 2011 by South Korea’s two largest search operators, NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp.
The dismissal is no doubt a relief for Google, which said at the time of the complaint that “Android is an open platform, and carriers and partners are free to decide which applications and services to include.”
The FTC agreed in this case, stating mobile users can easily find alternatives to the Google search engine through downloadable applications provided by NHN and Daum.
“Before and after Google’s push to force the preload of the Android operating system, its domestic market share remains almost unchanged at around 10 percent, while Naver (the portal of NHN) still maintains more than 70 percent,” an FTC official said. “This does not satisfy the competition-restricting condition, which is one of the major issues of this case.”
And while this may be one small win for Google in Korea, it’s still sorting out a three-year antitrust battle in Europe, where Google is working on proposed changes to search results in order to compromise with FTC’s requests.
Just Wednesday, EU chief antitrust regulator Joaquín Almunia said Google must offer more and improved concessions from Google’s proposal back in April.