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Google sues South Korean regulator, KFTC, to reverse $173M fine

According to the KFTC, Google has impeded market competition by asking smartphone manufacturers to sign an “anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA)

Google Sues South Korean Regulator, KFTC, To Reverse $173M Fine

In September last year, Google was sued for 207.4 billion won ($173million) by the KFTC (The Korea Fair Trade Commission) for blocking local smartphone producers like LG and Samsung Electronics from adopting other South Korean operating systems. 

On January 24th, Google launched a lawsuit challenging South Korea’s antitrust authority to reverse the commission’s decision to penalize the global technology behemoth for pressuring smartphone producers to use only its Android mobile operating system.

According to reports, the lawsuit was launched in an attempt to overturn the KFTC’s decision to levy the punishment and require Google Korea, Google LLC, and Google Asia Pacific to take corrective actions to end its practice of giving local smartphone makers no other choice but to use its operating systems, according to Yonhap news agency.

According to the KFTC, Google has impeded market competition by asking smartphone manufacturers to sign an “anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA)” when signing major contracts with Google for app store licensing and early access to OS.

The AFA prohibited device manufacturers from installing customized versions of Android OS, dubbed “Android forks,” on their smart TV products, smartwatches, and smartphones. They were also not permitted to create their own Android forks.

According to the regulator, this technique has helped Google consolidate its market dominance while undermining innovation in the creation of new operating systems for smart devices.

In their appeal to the regulator, Google stated that Android’s compatibility program has driven remarkable hardware and software innovation, as well as a significant success for Korean OEMs and developers, resulting in “more choice, quality, and an improved user experience for Korean customers.”

According to the IT giant, the KFTC’s decision does not factor in these benefits and will undermine the advantages customers enjoy.

Separately, the internet giant filed an injunction against the ruling with the Seoul High Court, and the trial will commence on February 25.

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