Kim Sang-jo, chairman of the Fair Trade Commission(FTC), hinted that its investigation into Google is ultimately a bundling of Android operating systems (OS). This is the first time that Kim has indirectly mentioned the direction of Google investigation.
Kim met with reporters at the Korea Culture Center in Brussels, Belgium on March 15, explaining the unfair behavior of Google, which competitors from different countries are paying attention to. "We can classify competition-hampering cases related to Google into two categories: the search market and Android OS," he said.
"Google has a problem of transferring market power to other services using its dominant position in the search service market," he added. "One of the problems is the bundling of Android OS."
"The Android OS is an open source that anyone can modify the code, but the service code related to it is not disclosed." said Kim. "Google is not the dominant player in the Korean search service market, hinting that the FTC`s ongoing probe into Google is ultimately an unfair sale of Android OS.
The FTC's investigation is in line with the European Union's probe. In July last year, the EU imposed a fine of 4.34 billion euros (about 5.7 trillion won), the largest ever, saying that Google violated EU competition laws by abusing its market dominance with Android OS.
At that time, the EU took issue with Google's pre-installation of Google Search App and Browser App Chrome as a condition for Google to use Google Play, and with incentives for manufacturers and mobile network operators to install Google Search App exclusively on their smartphones.
"The EU's Google survey is about the behavior of having a dominant position in one service and keeping the other connected, blocking the way other competitors can access," Kim said.
The FTC has been investigating allegations that Google has abused its dominance in the market by conducting on-site surveys on Google and domestic mobile game developers since April last year.