The South Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Alphabet’s Google 42.1 billion won ($32 million).
The South Korean regulator has decided on а measure of impact against the tech giant for banning developers from releasing mobile video games on the local competing One Store platform.
KFTC claims that Google required South Korean companies to release new video games only on the Play Store between June 2016 and April 2018. The regulator calls this requirement of the technology giant limiting the activities of local game manufacturers and forcing them to provide Google with access to applications and further support global expansion.
One Store, the South Korean equivalent of Google’s Play Store, was founded in June 2016 by three telecommunications companies — SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus — and the Internet giant Naver.
Google’s share of the South Korean Android mobile app market has increased to about 90-95% in 2018. In 2016, this figure was in the range of 80% to 85%. The One Store market share in 2018 did not exceed 10%. At the same time, two years earlier, the indicator of the scale of market presence reached 20%. This is evidenced by the data collected by KFTC.
The antimonopoly authority stated that the decision on the fine is the implementation of efforts to ensure conditions for fair competition in the application market. The regulator also declared its readiness to resist the attempts of the technology giant to abuse its dominant position.
The KTFC press release contains information that Google Play and the One Store generate more than 90% of domestic sales through the release of games. Google’s activity has affected major video game manufacturers such as NCsoft, Netmarble, and Nexon, and smaller-scale game developers.
A Google representative said that for five years the company had been actively cooperating with the antimonopoly authority as part of the investigation and had not revealed any signs of violations of the rules of fair competition in its actions. He also noted that the company directs its funds to help developers achieve success.
In 2021, KFTC fined Google 177 million. The reason for this decision was the abuse of the technology giant’s dominant position in the Android operating system (OS) market.
Google claims that its efforts have contributed to the growth and successful promotion of mobile games by South Korean developers at the international level.
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