Google being investigated for being anti-competitive with Android


According to a new report from the Korea Times, Google is currently facing an anti-competitive investigation into whether the company obstructed Samsung’s development of its own operating system in order to replace Android OS. An FTC official has announced that the firm is looking into whether or not Google “thwarted competition” in the OS market.

Currently, the Android marketshare in South Korea sits at more than 80% of devices. Specifically, the FTC is examining the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement signed by Google and Samsung in 2011 that requires all Android handsets to have Google set as the default search engine and to have several Google apps pre-installed on any Android devices. Samsung and Google also had an anti-fragmentation agreement that would prevent Samsung from developing a new OS using Google’s algorithms.

This isn’t the first time Google has been subjected to an anti-competitive suit in the country, as search engines Naver and Daum complained back in 2013 about the MADA that keeps Google as the default search engine on Android devices. Google was cleared in that suit after the anti-trust investigation stated that marketshare for these search engines was not impacted.

This renewed interest in examining whether Google is chaining manufacturers with its requirements has led the FTC to review whether this case from 2013 should be reinvestigated, while Google maintains that because Android is open source, partners are free to use the OS as they see fit.

“Android is an open source platform. Our partner agreements are entirely voluntary — anyone can use Android without Google. The Android OS can be downloaded for free. It can be modified and used to build a phone. Many companies have used Android’s source code as the starting point for their own operating systems.”

While Google’s stance on the open nature of Android has been standard any time the company has been accused of anti-competitive practices, this isn’t the first time the company has been subject to these complaints. The Russian government fined Google $6.75 million last year for violations, while the EU says the company is in breach of anti-trust rules.
Writer, gamer, and classical music whistler. I have an undying love of indie games and unique apps.

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