Our next story is about Google becoming embroiled in an antitrust lawsuit in the United States.
The U.S. Justice Department claims the company unlawfully maintained a monopoly in markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising giving little opportunity for other firms to make inroads into the market.
For more on the details and its implications for South Korea, we turn to Lee Kyung-min from the Korea Times who is on the line for us.
Good morning Kyung-min, tell us more?
The U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., Tuesday (local time), alleging that Google preserves a monopoly for its flagship search engine and related advertising businesses by using anticompetitive tactics.
According to reports by the WSJ, The U.S. government alleged that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisements on its platform to pay for mobile-phone manufacturers, carriers and browsers, like Apple’s Safari, to maintain Google as their preset, default search engine, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of dominance.
The U.S. government mains that if antitrust laws are not enforced, the country could lose the next wave of innovation, in which case, there would be no “next Google.”
Google, in response, said that people use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.
Former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt jumped to the company’s defense, saying the suit was misguided, unduly influenced by politics, and a distraction from more serious issues facing the technology industry and the country.
Issues surrounding Google were a key bone of contention at the government's recent audit in the National Assembly.
An executive at Google appeared before the National Policy Committee and Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee on Oct. 22.
The executive, Lim Jae-hyun, was grilled over the firm’s revised policy to charge 30 percent commission for in-app services, which Korean lawmakers said was abusive and unfair practice backed by its market dominance.
They say that as a result app developers and online service providers would have to make ends meet by either increasing service prices paid by consumers, or reducing fees paid to content providers.
An allegation that sparked controversy during the Science Committee was how Google allegedly exerted influence on smartphone makers not to have apps and OSs developed by its competitors installed in their electronic devices.
Rep. Yoon Young-chan of the ruling DPK went further to allege that Google was collaborating with smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and telecom carriers to share profits from search ads.
So Kyung-min, How did South Korea's antitrust agency react to this?
Last Thursday, FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook said during a National Policy Committee meeting that Google engaged in business practices that undermined fair competition.
She said Google’s much-criticized policy of charging 30 percent commission for its in-app services materialized precisely due to a lack of healthy market competition, adding that efforts should be undertaken to restore confidence in fair competition in the market.
We will have to wait and see how the suit unfolds in the U.S. and the Korean government’s subsequent measures. Thank you for your report Kyung-min.