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Google fined $177m for abusing Android dominance (again)

Yet another fine is heading Google's way this year.

Published onSeptember 14, 2021

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  • South Korean authorities have fined Google ~$177 million for allegedly abusing Android’s dominance.
  • The fine relates to Google’s requirement that OEMs sign anti-fragmentation agreements, prohibiting their ability to install modified versions of Android.
  • It’s believed that this practice allows the company to stifle competition in the OS space.

Google has been hit with a new fine for alleged anti-competitive behavior, this time in South Korea. According to the Korea Herald, the latest fine amounts to 207.4 billion won (~$177 million) for Google’s alleged abuse of Android‘s dominance and stifling competition in the operating system space.

Per the report, the fine relates to Google’s requirement that OEMs sign an “anti-fragmentation agreement,” or AFA, before gaining access to Android. This agreement prohibits them from installing modified versions of Android on their devices. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) reportedly understands that this practice entrenched Google’s dominance in OS and app store spaces and hampered competition. Alongside the fine, the KFTC has reportedly ordered Google to ban its AFA requirements.

Google’s fines this year

It’s not the first time this year Google has found itself in hot water. In July, the company was slapped with a $590 million fine in France for its dealings with news publishers. Two months earlier, Italy fined Google $123 million for abusing its Android Auto dominance. In the US, Google is still facing an antitrust case against 36 states filed in July, challenging the company’s app store dominance on Android. The EU Commission is also investigating Google’s handling of alternative voice assistants on Android.

South Korea recently passed a landmark bill banning Google and Apple from forcing app developers to use specific payment platforms.

This might not be the last slap on the wrist for Google in the country, either. The KFTC is also reportedly looking into Google’s Play Store monopoly on Android and its billing policy.

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