Google hit with US$32 million antitrust fine in Korea


South Korea’s competition watchdog has slapped a KRW42.1 billion ($32.4 million) fine on Google’s local and regional units for requiring gaming companies to launch new titles through Google Play to boost the platform’s business, The Korea Herald reported.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) argued Google abused its market dominance by barring game publishers from launching content on One Store – an app store managed by SK Telecom, KT, LG Uplus and Naver – for nearly two years, the newspaper wrote.

FTC data showed Google’s share of market spending increased to 90 per cent to 95 per cent in 2018 from 80 per cent to 85 per cent in 2016, while One Store’s share dropped by 10 percentage points to 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

The Korea Herald quoted Yu Seong-wook, the FTC’s anti-monopoly bureau director, as saying: “By blocking the release of games on One Store, Google has hindered innovation and consumer benefits in the app market and mobile gaming sector.”

In November 2021, Google changed its in-app payment policies in the country to allow developers to provide third-party options, following the government introducing a law preventing app store providers from requiring developers to use their payment channels for purchases.

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