The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has announced an official investigation into Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, for potential antitrust law violations related to its search practices on mobile platforms. This move intensifies the regulatory scrutiny facing the US tech behemoth, reported CNBC.
The investigation primarily focuses on whether Google engaged in agreements with Android smartphone manufacturers, wherein they would share search ad-related revenue. The catch being that these manufacturers would refrain from installing a competing search engine on their devices.
Additionally, the Japanese regulator is closely scrutinizing whether Google’s services enjoy preferential treatment on Android smartphones. As part of this inquiry, the Japan FTC is actively soliciting third-party opinions, with a deadline for submissions set for November 22.
In response to these allegations, Google has defended its position, asserting that Android is an “open-source platform” that has fostered diversity among its partners and device manufacturers. A spokesperson for Google emphasized that the openness and flexibility of Android ensure that users always have the freedom to customize their devices according to their preferences. This includes choosing how they browse and search the internet or download applications.
It’s worth noting that Google’s Android operating system is the dominant player in the global mobile market, boasting an impressive 80% market share in the smartphone industry. This investigation marks another chapter in the growing global scrutiny of tech giants, particularly in the realm of antitrust issues and market competition.