Korean trustbusters raid Google offices (scoop)

The Korean Fair Trade Commission had received earlier complaints about the Web giant's business practices regarding mobile search.

The Korean Fair Trade Commission, that country's antitrust agency, raided Google's offices in Seoul today, CNET has learned.

Regulators are apparently interested in information about Google allegedly limiting access to rival search engines on its Android mobile operating system. In April, two Korean Internet companies--NHN, which operates the popular Naver search engine there, and Daum Comminications--asked the country's Fair Trade Commission to investigate Google's business practices regarding mobile search.

It's also possible that mobile-device makers, some of which are based in South Korea, may have raised concerns related to restrictions Google places on use of its Android mobile OS.

In a statement, Google defended its Android strategy and said that it intends to comply with Korean regulators.

"We will work with the KFTC to address any questions they may have about our business," the company said in a statement. "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."

The Google Seoul office was also the target of a raid in May, when South Korean police investigated suspicions that AdMob, Google's mobile advertising unit, had illegally collected personal location data without permission, according to a Reuters report. At the time, a Korean police official told Reuters that that the police suspected Google of collecting personal location information "without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission."

Today's raid, though, appears to focus on a different matter. And if the focus is on Android, Korean authorities aren't the only ones looking. In June, Google disclosed that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission had served the company with a civil subpoena . Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the agency was targeting Android , looking into concerns about Google preventing mobile device makers that use the operating system from also featuring services from Google competitors.

Updated at 1:53 p.m. PT with additional details and analysis.

About the author

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Find Your Tech Type

Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!