South Korea Fines Google $31.88 Million for Blocking Mobile Video Games on Competitor's Platform

South Korea Fines Google $31.88 Million for Blocking Mobile Video Games on Competitor's Platform

South Korea's antitrust regulator, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), has imposed a fine of 42.1 billion won ($31.88 million) on Google for obstructing the release of mobile video games on a rival platform. The KFTC stated that between June 2016 and April 2018, Google strengthened its market dominance and harmed local app market One Store's revenue and value by requiring video game developers to exclusively release their titles on Google Play in exchange for providing in-app exposure.

The action against the U.S.-based technology giant is part of an ongoing effort by the South Korean government to ensure fair markets. In 2021, Google faced more than 200 billion won in fines from the KFTC for preventing customized versions of its Android operating system.

Jong Won Choi, a spokesperson from KFTC, explained: "This decision sends a strong message about our commitment to promoting fair competition within our rapidly evolving digital economy." He further emphasized that such practices undermine other platforms' ability to compete fairly with dominant players like Google.

In response to these accusations, Susan Kim, a representative for Google Asia-Pacific said: "We have always strived to provide developers with equal opportunities while ensuring users enjoy seamless access to various apps and services through our platform." She added that they are reviewing the decision made by KFTC closely and will decide upon future steps accordingly.

Legal experts believe this move may set precedents worldwide as regulators continue grappling with issues surrounding big tech companies' competitive behaviors. Soo Jin Park, Professor at Seoul National University School of Law commented: "As countries around the world face similar challenges posed by big tech monopolies, this case could offer valuable insights into how effective regulatory measures can be implemented."

Bloomberg Law has been actively discussing major legal issues related to this case with renowned attorneys and legal scholars. The show delves into various aspects of the legal profession, including intellectual property, criminal law, bankruptcy, and securities law. Bloomberg's Washington D.C.-based reporters also provide in-depth analysis of policy and legal matters related to the ongoing situation.

The South Korean government's move highlights its commitment to maintaining fairness in the digital market landscape. It remains to be seen whether other countries will follow suit in scrutinizing big tech companies' practices more closely to protect their local industries from unfair competition.