Antitrust regulators entered Google South Korean offices yesterday, seeking evidence that Google was abusing its position as the creator of the Android operating system to shut competitors out of the mobile search market. The move comes in the wake of complaints made to South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission by the country’s top search engine, Naver, as well as Daum Communication. The complaint alleges that Google’s Android operating system has Google set up as the default search engine and is “systematically designed” to make it difficult or impossible to switch to another search engine.
Google has not commented specifically on the raid, but said earlier this week that it does not require Android device makers or carriers to include Google search or other Google apps on Android devices. In a statement, the company said it will “work with the KFTC to address any questions they may have about our business.”
Naver and Daum’s complaint against Google says the company pressures smartphone makers and mobile operators to stick with Google apps and services rather than preload service from other companies.
The antitrust investigation is just one of many probes into Google’s business activities and search businesses: both U.S. and European regulators are examining Google’s dominance of the online search market, as well as the company’s role in search advertising. So far, South Korea’s investigation seems to be the first to take on Google services on Android devices.