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Google antitrust retrial to begin in South Korea


Google antitrust retrial to begin in South Korea

Google antitrust trial South Korea | Photo: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A retrial between Google and the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), South Korea’s antitrust regulator, will take place today in Seoul’s High Court.

Google filed a lawsuit against the KFTC after it fined the tech giant $177 million last September for alleged abuse of its market dominance.

South Korea was the first country to tighten regulations around Google and Apple when it passed a law aimed at curbing their alleged anti-competitive practices. Google mandates smartphone makers use its Android operating system (OS), charging commission rates of up to 30% in the process, which the KFTC believes inhibits innovation by smaller developers and harms consumers.

When it was first introduced, the ‘anti-Google’ law drew criticism from South Korean conservative politicians who feared backlash in the form of a trade dispute with the US – a close security and trade partner. However, such backlash is unlikely since the US-ROK free trade agreement does not specify companies. Further, American lawmakers are currently considering a similar bill.

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In the medium-term, expect the EU to mimic South Korea’s restrictions in the form of the Digital Markets Act, intended to allow smaller developers to gain leeway in the OS market.

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