South Korean, Argentinian Google Antitrust Probes Nothing New
It was recently reported that Google revealed in a SEC regulatory filing that it’s been under investigation in South Korea and Argentina for possible antitrust practices for some time now, and the search giant has been cooperating with the proceedings. New details have emerged, and it’s been said that the case in South Korea began last year, after local internet competitors Daum, a web portal similar to Yahoo, and NHN Corp. filed complaints concerning a so far vague reference to Google’s Android platform.
The investigation in Argentina is likewise nothing new – In a statement to Bloomberg, Google claims that “Argentina’s antitrust agency started investigating Google in November 2010 to determine if it holds a dominant position in the online search and advertising markets that could have an adverse effect on competition. The agency was considering an investigation into whether Google accepts payments in return for letting certain websites appear at the top of Internet searches.” Google might avoid a trial on this one, if the Argentinian investigation pertains to a general misunderstanding of its search algorithm.
Google has also been facing antitrust probes in Europe, and the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission recently hired Oklahoma City bombing prosecutor Beth Wilkinson to head up its investigation, which some say is indicative of an impending antitrust filing. While the Argentinian investigation might be plainly based on a possible misunderstanding of AdWords, and the South Korean probe is still a little ambiguous, it would appear that Google will likely be in court in at least the U.S.
In related news, Google has had its fair share of big legal woes as of late, with a verdict concerning the first phase of its patent infringement trial with Oracle expected within the next day or two. At least Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s Boeing 767 can help with making the international court dates.