NNH and Daum allege Google is blocking their mobile-search applications from running on its Android phones in South Korea, where the two search giants pace the market.
search powers NHN and Daum Communications have lodged complaints against Google
with the country's Fair Trade Commission for blocking local phone carriers and
phone makers from adding their search applications to handsets and tablets
running Google's Android operating system.
The move is
the latest complaint against Google for the way it wields its open-source
operating system. Google
has the final say on how companies can
tweak the Android code and even with whom they may partner, but maintains that
its platform is still largely open for modification.
control over Android phones apparently extends to search applications.
According to NNH, by way of Bloomberg
, Google has banned South Korean
phone manufacturers from including search applications made by other companies.
NNH added that Google has delayed certifying the use of its software for
handset makers that violated the condition.
it learned about Google's practices while trying to have its applications installed
and has evidence to prove its claims.
FTC declined to comment. A Google spokesperson said the company has not yet
been contacted by the Korean Fair Trade Commission "but will work with
them to address any questions they may have."
is an open platform, and carrier and OEM partners are free to decide which
applications and services to include on their Android phones," Google told
eWEEK April 15.
contradicts NNH and Daum's claims, making the case an interesting one to watch.
Google certainly would have the motivation to block search applications on
Android phones to protect its mobile-search market share abroad.
search share is particularly low in South Korea, where NNH and Daum together
make up 90 percent of desktop Web searches.
applications on Android phones would absolutely be antithetical to the open-source
ethos Google so fervently espouses in public.
control Google is exerting on Android-including an alleged report that Google
tried to halt Verizon from selling Android phones installed with Bing search-Rubin
himself responded in a blog post arguing that the platform will continue to be
open for modification.
approach remains unchanged: There are no lockdowns or restrictions against
customizing UIs," Rubin wrote April 6
. "There are not, and
never have been, any efforts to standardize the platform on any single chipset
in South Korea underscores the increasing pressures mounting against Google and
Android, which is quickly becoming the world's most pervasive mobile platform.
accounted for 33 percent market share through March to lead the U.S., and is
expected to command almost 50 percent worldwide over the next few years.
is also being attacked for copyright infringement by Oracle, is only one
faction of Google's many businesses to weather antitrust scrutiny. The Federal Trade Commission
is mulling a broad
antitrust investigation of the company for its search and ad practices.