Google fined in South Korea for abusing Play Store dominance

11 Apr 2023

Image: © Luis G. Vergara/

The Korea Fair Trade Commission claims Google’s practices prevented mobile games from being released on a rival platform.

Google has been dealt a new blow in South Korea, with a 42.1bn won (roughly $32m) fine for allegedly preventing the release of mobile video games on a competing platform.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) claims Google prevented mobile game companies from releasing games on One Store, a competitor to Google Play.

The South Korean watchdog claims Google bolstered its market dominance by requiring the game companies to exclusively release their titles on Google Play in order to receive better in-app exposure.

The KFTC claims this practice occurred between June 2016 and April 2018 and impacted One Store’s revenue, Reuters reports. The South Korean organisation has also issued a corrective order for Google’s actions.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters that it will review the final decision by the KFTC to evaluate its next course of action.

“Google makes substantial investments in the success of developers, and we respectfully disagree with the KFTC’s conclusions”, the spokesperson said.

The decision is another hit for Google in South Korea, as the tech giant was fined 69.2bn won last September by a state-run watchdog for alleged privacy violations. Meta was issued similar fines at the time.

Google’s market dominance

The tech giant has previously faced investigations over its alleged market dominance in the mobile sector.

In 2021, the UK’s competition watchdog began an investigation into both Google and Apple, due to concerns that both companies have too much control in the mobile market with their operating systems, app stores and web browsers.

The interim report of this investigation provisionally found that Apple and Google were able to use their market power to create “largely self-contained ecosystems” which made it difficult for other players to meaningfully compete.

In the same year, Google was fined 207bn won by the KFTC for allegedly blocking customised versions of its Android operating system, Reuters reports.

The UK watchdog’s final report was published in 2022 and found that Apple and Google’s market “duopoly” required regulatory intervention, though it would require a deeper probe into the tech giants to establish next steps, Tech Crunch reports.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic