South Korean antitrust authorities raided Google’s offices in Seoul on Tuesday, according to media reports. Officials from the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) also plan another visit to Google’s South Korean headquarters on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
South Korea’s NHN and Daum Communications, two Internet companies providing such services as search, email, and news, filed a joint complaint with the country’s antitrust regulators in April that alleged Google is unfairly stifling competition in mobile search.
The two companies said smartphones in South Korea running Google’s Android mobile operating system have Google’s search engine as a default navigation tool and are “systematically designed” to make it difficult for users to switch to a different company’s search service.
Google said in a statement Tuesday that it is working with South Korean authorities.
“We will work with the KFTC to address any questions they may have about our business,” the search giant said. “Android is an open platform, and carrier and OEM partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones. We do not require carriers or manufacturers to include Google Search or Google applications on Android-powered devices.”
Google faces a number of antitrust investigations and proceedings in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. In recent years, regulators around the globe have called attention to such Google dealings and activities as its acquisition of AdMob, its dominance of online search, and partnerships with other technology companies like Yahoo.
Google, regarded as a tech upstart not so many years ago, now keeps company with some of the industry’s biggest and most entrenched players when it comes to feeling the sting of antitrust investigations. And in an ironic twist this past March, Google was accused of anti-competitive practices by Microsoft, itself the star of major antitrust rulings by U.S. and European Union authorities in the recent past.
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