Google's offices in South Korea were raided by the Korean Fair Trade Commission after allegations that the search engine giant unfairly restricted access in the mobile-search market. Google has agreed to cooperate with the antitrust regulators.
On Tuesday, Reuters broke the news that officials from the Korean Fair Trade Commission raided Google Inc.’s Seoul offices in South Korea. The news outlet cited an anonymous source that was close to the situation.
The individual said the antitrust regulators went into the search engine’s office and planned to return Wednesday morning. Authorities conducted a similar raid earlier this year where it was alleged that Google illegally collected users’ geographical locations.
This week’s raid was due in part to accusations that Google restricted access to its Android operating system. The complainants – NHN and Daum Communications – claim Google is gaining a competitive advantage by preventing companies from preloading their search portals on the smartphones.
“It does not allow fair competition among search engines if Android-based smartphone users come across Google Search whenever they touch the search-engine icon, whether they want it or not,” said NHN Spokesperson in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Google issued a statement Tuesday where they noted that they do not require mobile phone manufacturers that utilize Android software to include Google applications on their devices, including its search engine.
A spokesperson for Google also said that they plan to cooperate with the Korean Fair Trade Commission in order to answer any questions that they may have about the company’s operations.
“We will work with the KFTC to address any questions they may have about our business,” the Google spokesperson wrote in a statement. “Android is an open platform, and carrier and [original equipment manufacturer] partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones. We do not require carriers or manufacturers to include Google Search or Google applications on Android-powered devices.”