South Korea fines Google $32 million for blocking developers from publishing games on rival platform
The South Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has fined Google Alphabet 42.1 billion won (~$32 million) for blocking developers from publishing mobile video games on a competing Korean platform called OneStore.
On Tuesday, the KFTC said that Google would have required Korean video game companies to exclusively publish their new games on the Play Store from June 2016 to April 2018. This means that Google has banned local game makers from publishing their content. on One Store in exchange for an offer. Exposure in Google’s app and additional support for global expansion.
One Store, a local counterpart to Google’s Play Store, was founded in June 2016 by the three South Korean telecom operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus – and internet giant Naver.
Google’s local market share in the Android mobile application market increased from around 90% to 95% in 2018, rising from around 80% to 85% in 2016, while One Store’s market share accounted for around 5% to 10% in 2018, which fell to 15% to 20% in 2016, according to data compiled by the KFTC.
Korea’s antitrust watchdog said the move was part of an effort to ensure fair competition in the app market by preventing the US tech giant from abusing its dominant position.
Google Play and One Store generate more than 90% of domestic sales through game sales, according to KTFC’s press release. Google’s activity has affected game companies, from large video game makers such as NCSoft, Netmarble and Nexon to small and medium-sized game developers, the KFTC said.
“We have cooperated diligently with the KFTC’s investigative and deliberative process over the past five years and believe that there has been no violation of law,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. a press release sent by e-mail. “Google makes substantial investments in the success of developers, and we respectfully disagree with the KFTC’s findings. We will carefully review the final written decision once it is provided to us to assess the next course of action. . »
In 2021, the KFTC Google fined $177 million for abusing its dominant position in the Android operating system (OS) market.
Google claims to have contributed to the successful growth and global expansion of Korean mobile game developers who launched their games on Play over the past decade.
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