South Korea FTC Clears Google After 2-Year Antitrust Probe

on Jul 19, 2013
Listen Friday July 19th: After a two-year investigation South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission concluded on Thursday that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) making its search service the default in Android-powered smartphones didn’t limit competition in the online search market.

According to South Korean Fair Trade Regulator Kwon Chul-hyun there was no proof that Google used its influence to unfairly propel itself in the market and limit its Korean search rivals. NHN, the market leader in the country with a 70 percent share, and search peer Daum Communications filed a complaint against the American company in 2011. Kwon said that Google’s search being set as default on Android devices had little to no impact on its competitors. He also added that users can easily download and install other search applications. Google’s market share in South Korea is still only around 10 percent – the deeply wired Asian country remains one of the few in the world where the U.S. search giant has failed to beat local rivals in online search.

**EU Commission Dissatisfied With Google’s Proposal**
Google has been previously found guilty of breaking privacy laws in South Korea and is currently facing an ongoing antitrust investigation in Europe. The European Commission is trying to determine whether Google had used gaming search algorithms to direct users to its own services and reduce the visibility of competitors.

!m[Google’s Proposed Measures Fail to Address Competition Concerns, EU Commission Says](/uploads/story/4137/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)
This week Joaquin Almunia, the EU commissioner for competition, said at a press conference in Brussels that Google needed to present “better proposals” if it wanted to settle the antitrust probe. “The proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns,” Almunia said, adding that he had written to Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt to request an improved plan.

“Our proposal to the European Commission clearly addresses their four areas of concern,” a Google spokesman said following Almunia’s remarks. “We continue to work with the commission to settle this case.” One of the measures offered by Google is to label its own products, which include Google Shopping and YouTube, to clearly distinguish them from other search results.

**Google’s share price was 4.14 percent lower at $873.00 as of 19.07.2013, 02.30 BST.**
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To contact the reporters on this story: Alice Young in London at [email protected]; Anton Aleksandrov in New York at [email protected];
To contact the editor responsible for this story: [email protected]

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