Google fined $32 million by South Korean antitrust regulator for blocking mobile games on competing platform

Google fined $32 million by South Korean antitrust regulator for blocking mobile games on competing platform

South Korea’s antitrust regulator has fined Google Alphabet KRW 42.1 billion ($31.88 million, or about Rs 262 crore) for blocking the release of mobile video games on the platform. a competitor.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said on Tuesday that Google had strengthened its market dominance and hurt One Store’s revenue and value in the local app market as a platform, by requiring manufacturers to video game companies exclusively publish their titles on Google Play in exchange for providing in-app exposure between June 2016 and April 2018.

Google said it would review the KFTC’s final decision to assess the next course of action.

“Google makes substantial investments in developer success, and we respectfully disagree with the KFTC’s findings,” a spokesperson said.

The KFTC said the ruling against the US tech giant was part of the government’s efforts to ensure fair markets.

Game makers affected by Google’s action include Netmarble, Nexon and NCSOFT, along with other smaller companies, the antitrust regulator added.

In 2021, Google was fined over 200 billion won by the KFTC for blocking customized versions of its Android operating system.

Earlier this month, India’s top startups called on the country’s competition watchdog to launch an investigation into Google for allegedly circumventing an antitrust directive by charging high service fees for in-app payments, according to a file.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) filing marked the latest standoff between Google and Indian startups, which have repeatedly criticized the US company for imposing unfair trade restrictions that hurt smaller players.

“Google’s policy change to charge service fees even on transactions processed by third-party payment processors…has adverse consequences for users and app developers,” the March 15 confidential complaint said. ADIF pages.

Google, which declined to comment, previously said the service fee supports investment in the Google Play app store and Android mobile operating system, ensuring it distributes them for free and covers developer tools and analytical services.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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