A retrial between Google and the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), South Korea’s antitrust regulator, will take place today in Seoul’s High Court.
Google filed a lawsuit against the KFTC after it fined the tech giant $177 million last September for alleged abuse of its market dominance.
South Korea was the first country to tighten regulations around Google and Apple when it passed a law aimed at curbing their alleged anti-competitive practices. Google mandates smartphone makers use its Android operating system (OS), charging commission rates of up to 30% in the process, which the KFTC believes inhibits innovation by smaller developers and harms consumers.
When it was first introduced, the ‘anti-Google’ law drew criticism from South Korean conservative politicians who feared backlash in the form of a trade dispute with the US – a close security and trade partner. However, such backlash is unlikely since the US-ROK free trade agreement does not specify companies. Further, American lawmakers are currently considering a similar bill.
In the medium-term, expect the EU to mimic South Korea’s restrictions in the form of the Digital Markets Act, intended to allow smaller developers to gain leeway in the OS market.
Sabrine is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a graduate student at Yonsei University in South Korea, specializing in foreign policy and security in East Asia. Previously, she contributed as a freelance writer for online publications and worked as a sub-editor for the Daily NK.