Google Faces Antitrust Complaints Over Mobile Search in South Korea

a chart to describe the search engine marketImage via Wikipedia

Two South Korean search engines have filed antitrust complaints against Google, claiming the company is abusing the dominance of its smartphone platform Android to stifle mobile search competitors.Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
Daum and NHN Corp together hold some 72% of the mobile search market, far more than Google’s 15%. But the two companies, which filed a complaint with the Korea Fair Trade Commission, claim that Google has partnered with smartphone producers and prohibited other companies from pre-installing search on their devices. And that’s why Google’s mobile search market share has been rapidly growing, the companies claim.
“Google’s market share in the local Internet search market only accounts for around 2%, but due to such an unfair act, its share in the mobile market is fast rising in Korea, and it stands at around 15%,” a NHN spokesman said.
Google has denied these allegations, claiming it’s not pressing device manufacturers to use its search engine. “Android is an open platform, and carrier partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones,” Google said in a statement.
However, according to NHN, Google is using indirect tactics to force device manufacturers to use its search engine. For example, NHN claims that Google has delayed certifying the use of its software for handset makers that refuse to use Google search, and Daum claims it has evidence of similar practices from Google.
Google’s Android dominates the South Korean smartphone market, with an estimated market share of 60% as of January 2011.
[via Bloomberg]
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