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Google was fined $177 million by South Korea’s antitrust authorities for abusing its mobile market dominance.

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Google was fined $177 million by South Korea’s antitrust authorities for abusing its mobile market dominance.

The South Korean antitrust authority penalised Alphabet’s Google 207 billion won ($176.64 million) on Tuesday, claiming that the US tech giant exploited its dominating market position to stifle competition in the mobile operating system (OS) industry.

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Google was investigated by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for allegedly prohibiting local smartphone producers from modifying its Android operating system. The penalty marks Google’s latest antitrust defeat in South Korea. Parliament approved a measure earlier this month prohibiting big app store operators like Google from requiring software developers to use their payment systems, essentially prohibiting developers from collecting commission on in-app sales.

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The fine might be the ninth-largest the KFTC has ever issued, according to the agency. According to the report, Google has hindered market competition by asking smartphone manufacturers to sign a “anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA)” when signing crucial contracts with Google involving app store licences.

Device makers were not permitted to put “Android forks,” or customised versions of Android, on their smartphones under the AFA. According to the KFTC, this approach has aided Google’s market domination in the mobile OS industry. On Tuesday, Google did not respond to a request for comment.

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