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Japan Watchdog Launches Google Search Dominance Probe

The Japan Fair Trade Commission suspects the US tech giant is “restricting its business partners’ activity in the search services market”

India fines Google
The CCI fine is another setback for Google in one of its priority markets.


Japan’s regulatory watchdog is to investigate Google over claims it is breaching competition rules by blocking rival search engines on its Android-powered devices, following in the footsteps of similar moves by authorities in Europe and other major economies.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) said on Monday it was investigating whether Google violated Japan’s Anti-Monopoly Act by returning part of its revenue to Android smartphone makers on the condition they not install rival search apps.

It is also looking into Google’s practice of making Android phone makers install its “Google Search” and “Google Chrome” browser application with the “Google Play” app.


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“There is suspicion that through these steps it is excluding competitors’ business activity and restricting its business partners’ business activity in the search services market,” a JFTC official told a press conference.

The official said the issue was not that Google’s service was widely used, it was about fair competition.

“We’ve launched this probe wondering if the situation under which other search engine providers’ services have a hard time being recognised as a user’s choice, no matter how much improvement has been made, is artificially created.”

The decision follows similar investigations by antitrust regulators in the European Union, the United States and others.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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