Google gets off in Korea anticompetition case

The country's antitrust watchdog says Google has done nothing improper by requiring mobile device makers to bundle its search engine with their products.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Google won't be charged with antitrust violations in Korea over claims that it's breaking competition rules by compelling mobile vendors to include its search engine in their Android-based devices.

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) ruled Thursday that Google is in no way violating competition rules by including its search engine with Android, Yonhap News is reporting. The company's chief competitors in the country, NHN and Daum Communications, have charged Google with hurting competition by automatically bundling Google Search in Android. The companies argue that the bundling is part of Google's attempt to increase its presence online in the country.

South Korea's FTC, however, disagrees, and decided to throw out the case. The organization argued that including Google Search in Android is not a competition violation, and pointed to Google's 10 percent market share in the country as proof that Android is doing little to hurt the company's competitors. NHN's search portal, Naver, has more than 70 percent market share.

Google's victory in Korea comes just a day after the company was hit hard by the European Union's competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, who said that his office would not accept the concessions Google made to increase competition of online services in the Eurozone. Google must now respond with more concessions or face the possibility of fines.