Antitrust watchdog raids Google Korea office

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Jul 22, 2016 - 09:20
  • Updated : Jul 22, 2016 - 15:23
[THE INVESTOR] The Fair Trade Commission, the nation’s antitrust regulator, raided Internet giant Google’s Korean head office in Gangnam on July 21 as part of its investigation into allegations that the global Internet giant twisted the arms of local smartphone-makers -- Samsung and LG -- to preinstall its apps on their handsets.

Google is also accused of pressuring local mobile game developers to utilize AdMob, a game ad platform run by Google. 

The firm, whose Android operating system has an over 90 percent market share here, allegedly penalized game companies refusing its requests.

“It is a well-known secret that Google threatens -- both directly and indirectly -- game companies to use the ad platform,” an official from a local game firm told Newsis, a local online news outlet.

“Almost half of Korea’s game developers registered on Google’s Play Store app market use the AdMob ad platform.”

Firms that failed to adopt AdMob were sometimes denied access to Play Store altogether, according to the allegations.

The FTC’s investigation comes after the European Union’s antitrust body said in April that Google is abusing its market dominance.

Goolge officially said in a statement that AdMob helps developers earn money from ads that appear within mobile applications. Developers are free to decide whether to use AdMob or not, and can list and distribute their apps on Google Play, whether they use AdMob or not.

The FTC said it could not confirm any detail of an ongoing investigation.

By Kim Young-won (