On Monday, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) announced the commencement of an investigation into Google to ascertain whether the tech giant has breached antimonopoly regulations, specifically in the domain of web search services. This move mirrors similar actions by regulatory bodies in Europe and other significant global markets.
Core Areas of Investigation
The primary concern for JFTC revolves around Google’s possible anticompetitive practices with Android smartphone manufacturers. The commission is assessing whether Google has infringed upon Japan’s Antimonopoly Act by offering a portion of its revenue to these manufacturers, provided they refrain from incorporating rival search engines into their devices.
Furthermore, the probe delves into Google’s alleged insistence on Android phone producers to preload their devices with specific Google applications, notably “Google Search”, “Google Chrome” browser, and the “Google Play” app.
A representative from JFTC voiced concerns during a press briefing, stating, “There is suspicion that through these steps, [Google] is excluding competitors’ business activity and restricting its business partners’ business activity in the search services market.“
Implications: This investigation is a reflection of the increasing scrutiny global tech giants like Google face from regulatory authorities across the world, emphasizing the broader discussions on tech monopolies, market dominance, and ensuring a level playing field for competitors.