Google’s antitrust lawyers – who were probably already working overtime to deal with threats in the U.S. and Europe – may soon need to brush up on South Korean law, as well. Two large Korean Internet companies have filed a complaint with the country’s Fair Trade Commission.
Miyoung Kim reported earlier today, “In their joint complaint . . . NHN Corp and Daum Communications Corp , South Korea’s top internet portals, said Google was unfairly impeding competition by using its status as a dominant smartphone operating system provider.”
More specifically, the complaint centered on the way in which Android users might find it difficult to pick something other than Google as a search provider.
Kim wrote, “Daum said the practice has helped Google enjoy a near 20 percent share of Korea’s mobile internet search market despite its market share remaining at around 2 percent in the country’s fixed-line internet segment, the smallest of major portals including NHN, Daum and Yahoo Inc.”
That’s a little different from many of the other criticisms we’ve seen surface elsewhere. They’ve tended to focus on issues related to search rankings, advertising, Google Books, and/or restricted access to YouTube.
That doesn’t mean Google can in any way brush off the complaint, though. Remember that South Korean police actually raided Google’s offices over its Street View data collection gaffe, and months later, determined the search giant had violated privacy laws.
Google hasn’t yet commented on the matter, and it’s hard to say when South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission might reach a decisions.