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South Korea fines Google $32m for using games to damage competing mobile stores

Google has been fined 42.1 billion won ($31.88 million) by South Korea’s antitrust regulator for blocking the release of mobile games on a competing platform.

Between June 2016 and April 2018, Google offered in-app exposure for mobile games that were released exclusively on Google Play.

Today, the Korea Fair Trade Commission said this impacted the revenues of Korea-based app marketplace One Store, as well as damaging that platform’s value and bolstering Google’s market dominance, Reuters reports.

The regulator claimed this also affected Korean games companies such as Netmarble, Nexon and NCsoft, as well as smaller developers and publishers.

Google told the site it is reviewing the KFTC’s final decision before evaluating its response.

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

The KFTC previously fined Google more than 200 billion won ($151.2 million) in 2021 for blocking customers versions of the Android operating system.

In the same year, South Korea also banned both Google and Apple from blocking third-party payments in favour of their own billing and payment systems.

Google and Apple are also under scrutiny in their home market of the USA for blocking innovation with their restrictive mobile ecosystems.

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