The Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined global IT company Google 207.4 billion won on Monday on the charge of forcing IT device manufacturers to install its own Android operating system (OS). An OS is a key to controlling devices and can be compared to the brain of humans. Due to Google’s abuse of power, other companies had to give up the development or use of new OSs. The IT company, which prides its self on innovation, has blocked innovation in the IT ecosystem and gained profits from monopoly.
The FTC said that Google has interrupted the market entrance of other manufacturers, including Samsung Electronics, by banning them from installing forked OS variants. Google used its app market ‘Play Store’ as leverage. Without Play Store that has 2.87 million apps registered, mobile phone users are bound to experience inconvenience. Google forced companies to sign contracts that forbid the development and use of other OSs in order to provide Google’s own app market to users. It is a structure that creates a monopoly (OS) based on a different monopoly (app market).
Samsung Electronics attempted to offer various services based on its forked OS variant when launching a new smartwatch in 2013. However, the South Korean company had to give up on the new product as Google put pressure for breach of contract. Google also blocked LG Electronics from using an OS fork designed for smart speakers. It was reported that former Google executive Andrew Rubin said Google would terminate licenses for Play Store, YouTube, and Google search on all devices if a company launches a single fork device. Such a threat has blocked innovation across smart devices and consumers lost an opportunity to use various services.
The European Union fined Google five trillion won three years ago for abusing its power in the OS and app markets. The entire world, including the U.S., is trying to regulate big tech companies’ monopoly. However, Google is continuing its old behavior, rather than self-reflection. The company forces its own payment system to collect fees in the app market and avoids taxes while using the internet network in South Korea for free on the excuse that its server is located overseas. Committing illegal acts beyond expedients is the truth of Google.
An act to prevent Google’s abuse of power took effect in South Korea for the first time in the world. The act prohibits Google from forcing app developers to use its own payment system in the app market. Google’s abuse of power is taking place across the IT industry, including OS, search, content, apps, etc. It is possibly more than what has been revealed. The South Korean government should thoroughly expose Google’s such behavior and take stern legal actions. The company founded on the motto of ‘don’t be evil’ has already become evil. As the entire world is looking into regulating the company, Google does not have much time left to go back to its initial commitment.