Google was sentenced on Tuesday by the competition authority in South Korea to a fine of nearly $ 180 million for abuse of a dominant position in the market for mobile applications and operating systems.
This decision “will undermine the benefits enjoyed by consumers,” said Google, which plans to appeal, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Apple Store and Play Store in the viewfinder
The move comes two weeks after Seoul passed a law banning Apple and Google from forcing app developers to use their payment systems, declaring their lucrative App Store and Play Store monopolies illegal. The two American giants are under fire, in particular for having taken up to 30% commission on sales of applications.
Last week, a US judge ordered the iPhone maker to no longer require publishers to use its payment system for their apps in a lawsuit against US video game developer Epic Games. Google and Apple dominate the online application market in South Korea, the world’s twelfth largest economy and leader in new technologies. The Korean Competition Commission (KFTC) has been investigating Google since 2016, accused of having prevented local smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, from developing the Android operating system (OS).
A dominant position
It ruled that Google has hampered competition in the market under an agreement preventing smartphone makers from installing modified versions of Android on their devices. “Because of this, smartphone manufacturers have not been able to launch innovative products with new services,” the KFTC said in a statement. “As a result, Google has been able to strengthen its dominant position in the mobile operating system market. She therefore sentenced the American giant to a fine of 176.8 million dollars (149 million euros) and ordered it to take corrective measures.
For its part, Google argued that commissions charged by the Play Store were the norm in this industry, claiming that they offset the cost of creating secure platforms for publishers to have access to users around the world. whole. The Play Store posted revenue of nearly 6 trillion won (US $ 4.3 billion) in 2019, or 63 percent of the South Korean market, according to data from the Seoul Ministry of Science.