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Google Accused of Interfering With South Korean FTC Investigation

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the only-do-evil-occasionally dept.

Android 186

New submitter DCTech writes "South Korea's Fair Trade Commission is accusing Google of methodically interfering with an anti-competition investigation into Android. 'Google deleted files and made its employees work from home in an attempt to frustrate the investigation, alleges the commission in an interview with a South Korean newspaper [machine translation]. The non-cooperation allegedly came after Google's Seoul office was raided by the commission's officials in September. The anti-competition probers were looking into whether Google's Android phones unfairly prioritize Google search and are "systematically designed" to make it difficult to switch to another option'. Now the South Korean watchdog is considering maximum fines for Google's non-compliance. Google is currently under investigation for similar anti-competition issues in Europe and the U.S."

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"If this was Microsoft" (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638856)

The responses to these stories are always interesting. Because it's Google, there will be criticisms of the South Korean commission and questioning of their claims. If this was Microsoft, however, the accusations would be taken at face value as more proof of Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior. Google is being investigated all over the world for anti-competitive behavior, but you can't even suggest that Google has a monopoly on web search around here without getting pounded with downmods. Even the lead counsel who prosecuted Microsoft in their antitrust case believes Google is a monopoly [cnn.com] .

It seems as if some people just can't believe that Google would ever do anything wrong. This isn't the cute little search engine from 2000. They went public and became an ad company; 97% of their revenue comes from web advertising [gigaom.com] . But I think they're really good at appealing to tech communities, using feel-good phrases like "openness" to make themselves more endearing to those demographics.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0, Flamebait)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638920)

Whereas Samsung, whoops, I mean the South Korean Government, is just looking into this to provide a fair market for telecom products.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

oxdas (2447598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639666)

Samsung is not pushing this, Naver is behind this.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639018)

1) It took a long time for Microsoft to run through its goodwill and become the monster it is today. We all hated IBM back in the day... Perception changes slowly.
2) Now that Google has a "monopoly," they're still trying to add products to the marketplace. They're still trying to make their existing products, services, and everything they do better. Compare that to Microsoft and IE6, which set us back at least 4 years in the web space. Name me 1 (as in a single) feature Microsoft introduced to comply with standards or make our lives any better between Netscape dying and Firefox showing up.
3) Google doesn't have a slimy history of creating contracts with PC makers excluding the bundling of products that aren't made by Google. Microsoft leveraged their market position in search to hold PC makers hostage, and kill products that competed with Office. Show me a case where Google did any of that, and I'll eat my words.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (5, Insightful)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639134)

3) Google doesn't have a slimy history of creating contracts with PC makers excluding the bundling of products that aren't made by Google. Microsoft leveraged their market position in search to hold PC makers hostage, and kill products that competed with Office. Show me a case where Google did any of that, and I'll eat my words.

That's what the whole story is about. There's also another such thing, and it's why EU is investigating Google for monopoly abuse. Most slashdotters stupidly think it's because of their search engine and users, but it's not, because you're not Google's customers. EU is investigating Google for disallowing advertisers to run same ads on competing ad networks. Since Google maintains such a huge market share in online advertising, that is outright monopoly abuse. Google is directly leveraging it's market position to kill competing ad networks.

Interestingly, recently Google changed their "Ads by Google" advertisements on websites to AdChoices [bytelib.com] . This is the very exact "soft" approach Google takes. Use cute and soft names and marketing. Hey, it's AdChoices, so there's clearly choices for advertisers! On top of that they wanted to change it from "Ads by Google" because all those advertisements were hurting Google's image. Not to worry - Just change it to different name and now people don't directly associate with the clean Google anymore!

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

miltonw (892065) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639298)

[citation needed]

Accusations of wrongdoing are not proof.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (2, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639552)

Use cute and soft names and marketing. Hey, it's AdChoices, so there's clearly choices for advertisers!

Carl Rove used that technique a lot. IIRC one that stands out was one of GW Bush's assaults on the EPA that they gave a warm fuzzy name to. Something like 'green environment policy'. That name is probably way off, but it is the idea. And then they say it over and over in the media until the (generally lazy) public believes it, even though they were doing the harmful opposite.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1, Troll)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639872)

Please take the following as a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the parent's comment:

Vampires have often found it advantageous to maintain a hidden presence in humanity’s most powerful institutions. In the 1600s, it was the Catholic church, and today, as you all know, it’s Google and Fox News.
— ‘True Blood’ vampire king Bill Compton

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640220)

"Since Google maintains such a huge market share in online advertising, that is outright monopoly abuse. Google is directly leveraging it's market position to kill competing ad networks."

That's fine, but what I don't get is why Apple hasn't been chased for the same thing regarding the digital music market which they clearly leveraged to lock people into their platform, forcing anything that wanted to interop with iTunes, and hence the users music library through a gimped interface such that everyone had to give up even trying. This coupled with the further abuse of the likes of the eBook market certainly does leave me wondering "why Google". Sure their practices may be problematic, but they're still nowhere near as anti-competitive as Apple's actions have been for the best part of a decade now.

I don't think it's that Slashdotters have an inherent bias towards Google, I think it's because they simply recognise that the issues with Google are far less problematic in the world than the likes of Oracle's grab of MySQL and Java with it's Sun purchase, Apple's decade of monopoly abuse in the digital music player, digital music, eBook market, and general platform lock-in. Facebook's blatantly criminal breaches of the Europe's various data protection acts, and it's monopoly on social networking being used to now also drive in to other areas.

The problem is that there are bigger, far more problematic fish to fry.

So excuse me if I can't help but feel that perhaps it's more about the fact Apple cosies up to governments, offering some good PR to the government of the day, and giving corrupt governments whatever they desire, whilst Google produces the transparency index, and stands up to the likes of China.

Someone once said Microsoft's mistake in suffering it's anti-trust investigation was not cosying up enough to the politicians - it was an upstart, an outsider to the system that had done too well too quickly, and the establishment just doesn't like that. Companies like Apple and Microsoft both learnt from that that lesson which is why they face no issues now. Google in contrast still seems to detest the idea that to do business in a market, you have to effectively engage in corrupt practices with politicians and the like, it's mistake is a repeat of that Microsoft made.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (4, Interesting)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639210)

3) Google doesn't have a slimy history of creating contracts with PC makers excluding the bundling of products that aren't made by Google. .

To catch up, google "skyhook lawsuit".

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (3, Funny)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639230)

Name me even 1 feature that Google introduced to comply with standards.These guys even messed with the well accepted TCP/IP packet size just to make their main page to load faster, screwing all the rest of the world. What the........

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639436)

That's bullshit. There was never any good will to run through with Microsoft. They've been crap from day one.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (3, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639472)

Or, in short, Microsoft used up all of their goodwill a long time ago. Google hasn't - yet. Geeks are skeptical by nature and are willing to give a company or person that is fundamentally good the benefit of the doubt.

bonch,DCTech,etc all same person's troll acounts (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639742)

http://slashdot.org/~bonch [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~SharkLaser [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~DCTech [slashdot.org]

and countless others that have been modded into oblivion for trolling.

Re:bonch,DCTech,etc all same person's troll acount (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639778)

Not really, bonch is Apple fanboi, SharkLaser etc. is MS shill.

Here's a list of MS accounts I'm aware of, in chronological order.

http://slashdot.org/~CmdrPony [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~InsightIn140Bytes [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~InterestingFella [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~SharkLaser [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/~DCTech [slashdot.org]

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (4, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639760)

2) I don't know what timeline you want, since Firefox showed up in Feb 2004 well before the end of Netscape in 2008. But let's pick 1998 as your "Netscape" year, since that was when the source code of Netscape was abandoned.

1999 -- Microsoft introduces "AJAX". It made our lives significantly better. (or at least, it was what turned the Internet from Web1.0 static pages into Web2.0 interactive pages).

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639910)

I've worked for a major PC maker. Google paid us a lot of money to put Google all over the desktop and remove all references to competing products (e.g. remove all links to IE and make Chrome the default browser). I think you will have to eat your words.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640124)

Did they demand to install Chrome OS as well? Did they require complete uninstallation of any product and forbid installing anything except Google's products on the PC, or did they only maliciously delete IE shortcut? Did they deny you installation of Chrome if you failed to comply?

The word you're looking for is "OEM customization". Requirements are clearly documented by MS and anyone can indulge in this malice if he so pleases.

Other word you're looking for is "Microsoft tax". You should look it up and compare.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (5, Insightful)

merchant_x (165931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639054)

Even Google admits that they are probably in monopoly territory. Monopolies are not illegal though. Abusing your monopoly position to inhibit competition is illegal.

If you don't want to get down-modded perhaps you should point out areas where you think they have abused their monopoly position rather than just say "see, Google is a monopoly!"

Microsoft are convicted monopolists and there are numerous examples of the anti-competitive behavior. Point to Google's ant-competitive behaviors then perhaps there can be a discussion.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639270)

He does not have to. The monopoly is by definition evil. Please, name me even one "good" monopoly, and i will beg for mercy.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (5, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639330)

The government's monopoly on the use of force. Having competing private armies would definitely be a bad thing.

Linus Torvald's monopoly on the name "Linux".

The IETF's monopoly over Internet standards.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639592)

Actually, with the new NDAA bill, the government has the monopoly on the use of force......Do you consider it a good thing?
Linus Torvald does have monopoly on the name linux......i have monopoly on my name.....but there are hundreds of thousands of people with the same name, but so what? do i really have monopoly???
The IETF's monopoly over Internet standards.......sorry man, did you just said that all the human beings on earth have monopoly on everything on earth!!!! Please, be more specific.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639602)

He said ONE GOOD monopoly.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (2)

oxdas (2447598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639432)

Interestingly enough, Google is not a monopoly in search in South Korea. In fact, I think they are third behind Naver and Daum. Google is in single digits in search market share (Naver has something like 60%). This clearly is not about monopolistic practices.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (5, Insightful)

oxdas (2447598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639538)

I hate to reply to myself, but I am mistaken. After further consideration, I think this is about monopolies. This about South Korean search monopolies Naver and Daum losing marketshare because Google Android directs mobile searches through their portal. This is South Korean using the law to try and protect Naver. I wonder what Samsung thinks of Naver pushing around their partner?

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640348)

Even Google admits that they are probably in monopoly territory. Monopolies are not illegal though. Abusing your monopoly position to inhibit competition is illegal.

that's the way US law treats monopolies; EU law doesn't require abuse of monopoly power.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639108)

You said something possibly negative about Google, you must be an Apple fanboi! Or a Microsoft shill! Or um, you hate freedom and open source!

I will now delve into the last 5 years of your posts analyzing them and spend the next 3 hours in this thread telling everyone how you hate Google and you're just paid to post here by (insert big corporation that I don't like).

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (4, Interesting)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639142)

Actually it's pretty cut and dry here. I really don't see room for question. The main problem that South Korea has with Android is that magnifying glass in the top left corner. You tap it and it seems to only get its results from either local machine or Google.com. The first isn't the problem and neither is the second. What the problem seems to be is that there doesn't see a way to change where Internet results as received from.

Now this wouldn't have been that big a fuss, if someone hadn't made such a big fuss about IE being so tightly integrated with Bing, which it really isn't but I digress; that's really a different conversation altogether. Anyway, so if we are going to slap Microsoft's hands for IE/Bing, then we need to slap the hands of Android/Google.

Also the South Korean office of Google's has been pretty up in arms as of late. Now this one office could or could not be a representation of Google as a whole, again that's up for debate and not really what I came to comment on. However, it is clear that Google's South Korean office has been acting a bit mighty fishy and the one thing police don't like is when people start acting funny.

However, I agree, I think Google should provide some options for changing up the search engine for the search button. It's not like I would ever change it, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside when I get options.

Now I know what people would say about Google and Android tied together like they are, but we have to remember, tablet's and phone's are being held as the way casual computing is heading. Now a lot wasn't done until after the fact with Microsoft and ever since their antitrust case, I think people have been trigger happy to protect end-users. When in reality I think that the people who proclaim to be protecting end-users seem to understand computers less. Anyway, this shouldn't come as a surprise.

I'd be surprised if South Korea actually did the same thing to say Apple! Apple usually argues that their stuff isn't a phone or a tablet or a computer. It's an Apple product and changing the options, search, or OS on an Apple product is like asking a microwave maker to provide a method for installing custom software on their microwave.

Anyway, not trying to start a war here. Just wanted to say: 1. Not surprised, 2. S. Korean office is indeed acting fishy which tends to agitate police.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640148)

I mostly agree, but Android is open source. Any manufacturer could modify it to include alternative search engines. Can you really blame Google if they don't write the code specifically? Unless they are cracking down for the Google phone, in which case Google would be the manufacturer, but looking at that phone specifically, can Google really be considered a monopoly?

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640284)

I'd be surprised if South Korea actually did the same thing to say Apple! Apple usually argues that their stuff isn't a phone or a tablet or a computer. It's an Apple product and changing the options, search, or OS on an Apple product is like asking a microwave maker to provide a method for installing custom software on their microwave.

with regards to the Apple comment, you can actually change the search provider. At least for safari you have the options of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. In other countries Apple may have other providers listed but I'm not sure about that. However there is precedent for Apple allowing search provider changes on iOS.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640310)

You can change the default search engine on iOS easily.

Difficulty in changing the OS or other options like alternate browsers (engines, not using the WebKit back-end), can't install Flash, etc... while it can be frustrating for some users, is not monopoly abuse, or indications of such. Abuse on Apple's part would be if they contractually prevented app authors from re-publishing their apps on Android, Blackberry or WinPhone, which has not happened.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639310)

Oh look, modded to -1, shocking.

If this post had read something like "lol must be submitted by apple fanboi why u mad bro google rocks why dont u go blow steve jobs", it would be +5 Insightful.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639388)

Heya, bonch, why do post anonymously? It's not like everybody knows that's you, anyways.

By the way, read on confirmation bias a little, other Apple fans, who don't post same "Apple Apple Apple Brand protection I love Apple Revolutionary innovations Everybody copies Apple Seamless experience Why do you all hate Apple Apple Apple Did I tell you I love Apple" in every thread like you, don't get modded down to -1 Asshat scores.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639458)

If Fandroids looked in the mirror once in awhile, they would see that they have become the fanboys they hate about apple.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639380)

Well the first problem is that MS, a direct competitor, is complaining. The second is while there are examples of possible anti-competitive behaviors, I don't think there is anything approaching what MS did. Let's take the three examples that are mentioned in the article.
  1. Google does not provide the same access to YouTube data that they have. So while competitors can get the results to look like Google, they aren't exactly the same. This is a fair complaint.
  2. Google doesn't provide the same data to relating ads and searches to competitors as they do internally. Well considering that this is the core of Google's business, I don't see why they should let their competitors have it.
  3. Google enters into exclusive search agreements with sites. Considering that MS also does this (FaceBook), this isn't a valid complaint. The only thing MS is griping about is that since Google has the majority of the search, they shouldn't be allowed to do this. Well, where MS got into trouble wasn't they had exclusive contracts but how they leveraged them against their competitors. For instance, OEMs were "hinted" not to install Netscape or their OEM Windows pricing might go up. In this case if MS wants more agreements, compete. Just because many prefer to enter agreements with Google does not mean they are forced into them.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639398)

It seems as if some people just can't believe that Google would ever do anything wrong. This isn't the cute little search engine from 2000. They went public and became an ad company; 97% of their revenue comes from web advertising [gigaom.com] . But I think they're really good at appealing to tech communities, using feel-good phrases like "openness" to make themselves more endearing to those demographics.

Gasp, not ad revenue! Did you expect their revenue to come from people paying for search results? Please try to grasp this: Every company that solely works in the Internet space is an Ad company. That's how money is made on the internet, if you think this makes something evil then you probably should be unplugging your computer from your 56k modem right about now. I mean Slashdot (the site you apparently abhor but can't stop posting on) relies on web advertizing, and OH SHIT most of it is in the form of Google Ads to boot!

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639814)

I think part of the difference between MS anti-trust and google is that MS directly hits your pocket book, when you HAVE TO buy windows for $XXX, while all google services are free. The ads come with them. In that sense it's very very tough to call google a monopoly because technically they're not directly making money off their search from the consumer standpoint. If Linux broke through on a feature and started strangling MS, and became available on MOST devices, would you call it a monopoly like you can w MS?

You are 100% right though, google changed when they went public, as do most companies. They are in a slightly different position, their data + government = insta 1984. So idk, best bet is to not worry about it I guess. I'd still recommend blocking google when possible w noscript though. A solution useless to most of the non-IT crowd.

Multi-Account Troll bonch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639934)

How pathetic does this foaming at the mouth Apple zealot have to be to sit here day after day creating new shill accounts desperately trying to build up mod points for his anti-Google tirades.

Go cry in your Starbucks in your black turtle neck you nutcase. Google's Android destroyed your precious outdated iPhone in the market. Get the fuck over it.

Re:Multi-Account Troll bonch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640172)

How pathetic does this foaming at the mouth Google zealot have to be to sit here day after day posting conspiracies about multiple accounts and trying to spin healthy competition between major vendors who all offer good products as one "destroying" another for his anti-Apple tirades.

Go cry in your Mountain Dew and Cheeto-stained neckbeard you nutcase. Android, iOS, and WP7 are all viable products with satisfied customers and a few outspoken radicals. Nobody is destroying anybody's smartphone, unless your name is RIM.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (2)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640024)

maybe it's because Google does not make a phone as the headline states,("Google's Android phones") and Google does not force vendors to use their operating system. The operating system is free and open source so vendors can use it without opting to use Google's apps, market, or search defaults if they so desire. Unlike Microsoft's vast history of signing exclusionary deals and all the court documents which so they purposefully opt for designs which excluded others from competing on their platform.

So if Android, the open source/free version is not capable of using another search engine they might have something. But I doubt that is the case so WTF are they crying about? What do you expect a license from Google to use their Android applications and app store needs to provide apps and access to Microsoft's applications and app store?

And besides, Google as a search engine works great and consistently provides great service while Microsoft has always been technical laggards and in many cases technically inept yet their licensing and contracts prevented people from choosing other products. Somewhat related, a lot of my friends are complaining about their Windows Vista computers when I told them to request Windows XP instead but were told they would have to pay extra for the older software. Microsoft forced computer makers to ship Windows Vista and eliminated the option to put Windows XP on the computers without added costs. This was monopoly manipulation of the market choices even though it was the same companies product. And Microsoft allowed some OEMs to pre-load Windows XP and even paid them incentives to do it( netbooks ).

And didn't I see that Google only has 60% or so of the search market? Microsoft was at 80% of the PC market and stomped on all kinds of hardware and software companies with that share as they did with 90% market share too. There are lots of examples of this like Go Inc in the late 80s and early 90s, OS/2, Java, Netscape etc.

They are liked because they make good products and when they do throw ads at you they're not massively annoying and many times they are actually related to what you are on the web pages for. What an amazing feat. The television industry still can't realized a feminine hygiene commercial during a Saturday morning cartoon is not well targeted. They got the beer and truck thing down for football and most sports though. amazing.

LoB

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

increment1 (1722312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640164)

Whether Google has a monopoly on web search is irrelevant to the issue raised in the article. The present accusations concern their use of Android to drive search, not vice-versa. For that to be illegal / anti-competitive in the US, they would have to have a monopoly on smart phones (it is illegal to use the influence of a monopoly to drive other products, however, it is not illegal to use other products to push your monopoly).

Obligatory Apple comparison: shouldn't the iphone only working with iTunes be similarly anti-competitive?

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38640238)

Obligatory Apple comparison: shouldn't the iphone only working with iTunes be similarly anti-competitive?

You might have a point if this were true. However, there is a published API to interface with iPods/iPhones and anyone can write software to interface with it. The only potential monopoly would be the iTunes Store, and I don't know if third-party software can interface with that to put apps on the phone. For music/videos/pictures, you aren't limited to iTunes though.

Re:"If this was Microsoft" (1)

increment1 (1722312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640312)

Thank you for clarifying that. I did mean the Store / app market (as being an online service from which Apple generates revenue it is the most comparable to the Google search service on Android), unfortunately I just tend to lump the iTunes software and online component into just iTunes.

Groan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38638888)

"systematically designed" to make it difficult to switch to another option'

Srsly? You can go into the Android Market and download the Bing app right there.

Re:Groan (3, Insightful)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638944)

Just like you could download any other browser on Windows. And that still doesn't change the fact that Google is working with manufacturers to keep competitors away. Google also owns AdMob, which specializes in mobile advertising and has 90% market share. That's a huge monopoly. And Google has used their monopoly to restrict advertisers from using other platforms for the same ads if they want to use Google's ad platforms. That's outright monopoly abuse.

History repeats (1, Insightful)

Comboman (895500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639244)

Just like you could download any other browser on Windows.

But you couldn't uninstall IE because it was a "vital part of the OS" (at least until they were forced to). You could also install any office suite you wanted, but only MSOffice had access to hidden APIs that made it run at a decent speed (a huge advantage in the early days of Windoze). Despite all that (and plenty more), Microsoft ended up with a slap on the wrist that didn't even pay for a fraction of the costs the DOJ put into the investigation. I suspect Google will end up the same and once again the taxpayers will get the bill for some ambitious government lawyer's need to make a name for himself.

Re:History repeats (3, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639842)

But you couldn't uninstall IE because it was a "vital part of the OS" (at least until they were forced to)

It WAS/IS a vital part of the OS. We aren't talking the kernel, or the drivers, but the shell, Explorer.exe used the IE components for doing close to everything. You did have sillyness like 98lite that removed IE by actually installing the old windows 95 shell from disk. However, due to the fuss about being forced to have IE, Microsoft just component-ized the hell out of it, so if you were to "uninstall" IE, you are actually only getting rid of the executable, not the essential OS components.

Re:Groan (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640308)

The problem the DOJ had with respect to IE and MS was not at the consumer level but at the OEM level where MS did all they could keep Netscape out of the market by hinting, paying, and threatening them not to install Netscape. In this case if Google had did the same to every app store or manufacturer to keep Bing out you would have a point. It appears in the worse case, Google is paying to make theirs the default which isn't the same.

Re:Groan (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638988)

That could be a reference to earlier accusations that Google used its Android approval process to throw up obstacles for phone vendors who chose to ship with Bing as the default service. Google is a business and isn't giving Android away out of the goodness of its heart; the intent is that people use its services through the platform.

Re:Groan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639078)

And the fact that Samsung was the biggest one of those vendors you mention and Samsung is also one of three companies (Hyundai and LG being the other two) that basically runs the South Korean government couldn't possibly influence the investigation either, right?

Re:Groan (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639642)

Do you have proof that Samsung, Hyundai, and LG run the South Korean government? I supposed it's possible there is an influence; Samsung is the number one Android handset maker, selling 55% of Android phones [mondaynote.com] and putting them in a position to twist Google's arm, perhaps even forking Android. With Google purchasing Motorola, Samsung will view Google as a direct competitor.

Re:Groan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38638990)

Just you wait for searchchoice.mob.sk

Corporate Corruption (4, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638902)

It seems that every Big Company eventually turns evil at some point.

Leave Google alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38638904)

I'm serious you guys, leave Google alone!

You first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639384)

I'm serious you guys, leave Google alone!

Okay, then, if you want Google to be left alone, let's all boycott Google, that should be alone enough ;^)
Bzzt, try again troll!

OH... RALLY? (0, Redundant)

AtomicAdam (959649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638912)

What about anti-competitive acts done by Microsoft or apple.... never seems to be much legal action against them now days..

Really? (0)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638932)

It still blows my mind that anyone would want to use Bing anyway.

Re:Really? (1)

AtomicAdam (959649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638974)

Yeah I saw someone with a "I bing" t-shirt. I just didn't know what to say...

Re:Really? (1, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639156)

I'm afraid that Google has 100% share of my brain. When I think "search" I go straight to Google, and start typing. I don't think Yahoo, or Bing or other search engine. Hell, I don't even know if Yahoo runs its own search anymore or not. And I've gone to "Bing" and find it distractingly pretty. I don't even want to go there, I just want the mostly white space of Google, where I can find what I want and not let my ADD get the better of me.

I do get "Bing" for a certain group of people who want "pretty". Yeah, I get that, it just isn't for me. It is going to be hard for me ever switch from Google.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639304)

Yahoo is just a wrapper around the Bing search engine. I think that Bing and Google are the only two serious search crawlers left, and all the other "search engines" just use their results.

I still have trouble taking Bing seriously after Microsoft changed the product name like three times. Maybe that will eventually wear off for me, I dunno. I still remember that it used to be MSN Search, and nobody used it, and then it became Live Search and Microsoft was totally serious this time, guys, and then nobody used it, and now it's Bing, a totally new product that will really beat Google this time, and...

Reminds me of Chevy's compact cars. Toyota's been making the "Corrola" since the seventies, and it's been unexciting but basically competent, whereas Chevrolet had the Vega, then the Monza, then the Cavalier, then the Cobalt, and now the Cruze, and they all sucked to varying degrees. Changing the name every couple of years gives the perception (usually accurate) that the company isn't really all that serious.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639536)

For US, may be. China, for example, has Baidu and Russia has Yandex (which has a good share in all ex-USSR as well).

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639608)

That's true, but the set of websites that satisfies a user's search criteria are going to be heavily language- and location-dependent. Yandex probably indexes well for Russian internet users but I doubt I'd find what I was looking for on there easily, and vice versa for their users and our search indexes. My point was that the English-language market is pretty big and there are only two real search engines for it.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38638994)

It still blows my mind that anyone would want to use Bing anyway.

There's actually many slashdotters who suggest using them. Now, they suggest using DuckDuckGo, but as DDG uses Bing back-end the results are the same. Of course for Slashdotters if it's Microsoft it sucks, but if it's basically the same but they don't figure out it uses MS back-end, then it's superb. Go figure!

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639062)

DuckDuckGo sucks anyway lol.

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639444)

And, since Bing uses Google's results, everyone uses google anyways. Go Figure! ;-)

It's the default (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639034)

A lot of people are not interested if fighting MS. Computer come with Windows installed. Windows comes with MSIE installed. MSIE defaults to Bing.

Re:Really? (1)

amnesia_tc (1983602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639072)

Hey, if I'm going to use an awful search engine, I might as well use the awful search engine that doesn't think it knows what I'm searching for better than me. The free Microsoft FunBucks don't hurt either...

Systematically designed? (5, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639088)

That's funny, until I rooted it, my Motorola Backflip would ONLY let me use one search... Bing.

What are these guys smoking?

Re:Systematically designed? (1, Informative)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639252)

Even funnier is that the one and only Apple product I ever owned, an iPhone 3G was set to Google search.

If it's good enough for their main competitor, why is it not good enough for them? And as the PP points out, this is all customizable by the hardware maker.

And apparently, South Koreans have never installed Chrome, which immediately gives you a simple choice of Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Install the latest Internet Explorer and see how hard it is to not choose Bing.

Re:Systematically designed? (1)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639326)

And apparently, South Koreans have never installed Chrome, which immediately gives you a simple choice of Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

I've never got this and I've installed Chrome to lots of computers. Maybe it's different to my country, but it really doesn't ask me what search engine I want to use. It's always Google.

Re:Systematically designed? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639836)

It won't ask at startup (which, if I remember correctly, IE8+ does if it's the first launch on a clean machine), but it's Options->Basics->Search Engine.

Re:Systematically designed? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639884)

... actually, sorry, I'm wrong - Chrome will ask on first start if you don't carry over settings from an old install. And, unlike IE, it readily offers the three choices listed by GP, whereas in IE you get the choice of Bing, or going to a website where you can "install" other search providers.

There was one case where Google deliberately removed search engine selector - it was done for Russian language builds of Chrome, and there was a scandal when people found out (it was an explicit locale check in source code with a comment explaining exactly what it is). It was said that Google did that because they're having a hard time competing against Yandex on Russian market, where the latter has about 60% of it. They have since removed that check.

Re:Systematically designed? (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639428)

  1. Click the arrow next to the search box.
  2. Click Find More Providers...
  3. Choose Google from the resulting list.
  4. Click Add to Internet Explorer.
  5. Check "Make default provider..." (paraphrase).
  6. Click Add

That was pretty simple. Writing up the process took me at least an order of magnitude more time.

scroll... scroll... scroll... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639896)

  1. Click the arrow next to the search box.
  2. Click Find More Providers...
  3. Choose Google from the resulting list.
  4. Click Add to Internet Explorer.
  5. Check "Make default provider..." (paraphrase).
  6. Click Add

That was pretty simple. Writing up the process took me at least an order of magnitude more time.

"Choose Google from the resulting list." is a bit of a gloss over, if we're being honest with ourselves.

During setup, if you tell it that you want a new search provider, you are presented with a catalog with pages and pages of search providers. http://www.ieaddons.com/en/addons/?feature=accelerators [ieaddons.com]

Then click the "Search" category.

Then scroll sideways. Yes, it's very non-intuitive and confusing to scroll sideways, without a scroll bar, by mousing over the right side of the screen. But hey, why make it easy? .... keep scrolling... keep scrolling... keep scrolling.

When you reach the 68th listing, it will be Google.

There was nothing simple about that.

Android is Open... (4, Interesting)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639140)

Since Android is open, the device manufacturers / Microsoft / South Korea / Anyone Else can modify it to not use Google for search results. At that point it may not be "Android Powered by Google", but that seems to be what South Korea wants. So, let device manufacturers modify Android, change the default search provider, and not include GApps. That way, every person who purchases a new phone gets to install a market, search for packages to do what they need, and the world will be happier since the monopoly has been crushed.

Of course this will never happen... South Korea isn't breaking up a "monopoly". They see a chance to extort money from another business, and use the "monopoly" threat to do so. They do this because the device manufacturers won't abandon Google's version of Android- it's exactly what 99% of their (the device manufacturers) customers want. Pre-installed apps, GMail, Facebook, and the Google Marketplace so they can easily find the latest app their friend told them about./P.

Re:Android is Open... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639376)

well, it depends how they made it.

if south korean google offices used dirty tricks and lies to keep for example LG on the google search boat by trying to take away app market if they don't keep using bing, then the SK googlers might be pretty fucked.

otoh, google's motorola bid could be seen because moto used bing on some phones.

though, because it's the smaller korean search providers that are the cause of the investigation (which can lead to a ridiculously small fine, mind you) it might be because you can't change the defaults without rooting(or providing an entire homescreen replacement, I suppose). but there's so many other things you can provide plugins for without rooting that it might indeed seem strange.

Re:Android is Open... (1)

oxdas (2447598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639820)

Google is the smaller search provider in South Korea (with less than 10% market share). This is about Google taking market share from domestic search monopolies because Samsung and LG are selling android phones which default to Google. Naver can't take on Samsung for political reasons, so they are using the government to go after Google.

Re:Android is Open... (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639580)

Although the source code is open, part of the value proposition is to access the Android store. Google, by tying together search and access to the android store, is doing "bundling". Since they are probably a monopoly, this bundling of services may be illegal as is reduces competition (in search and in store services).

Not saying that SK doesn't have any alterior motive, but there is quite a bit of precident (e.g., the browser wars of the PC-age) that indicate that perhaps there is some thing to be said about unbundling services. If you are so enamored with google, perhaps you should google "rule-of-reason" sometime...

Perhaps some device manufacturer might want to strike deals with alternate email, social network or marketplace that give them back a share of the profits. For instance, on a notebook I recently purchased, it had Chrome pre-installed. I'm sure that the OEM got a better deal for that than microsoft was offering...

Re:Android is Open... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639746)

How exactly is it tying search to the market? I see no such requirement in the CTS.

Re:Android is Open... (4, Informative)

anonymov (1768712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640286)

Google, by tying together search and access to the android store, is doing "bundling"

Motorola Backflip is an Android device, uses Bing as default search and has Android Market. Your argument is invalid.

Re:Android is Open... (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639630)

"At that point it may not be "Android Powered by Google", but that seems to be what South Korea wants."

Well that's the point, isn't it? It's a question if Google refusing to bless devices not using Google search an abuse of monopoly power. Much like Microsoft refusing to bless (or giving bad terms) to manufacturers who wanted to bundle Netscape instead of IE.

Re:Android is Open... (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639730)

Since Android is open, the device manufacturers / Microsoft / South Korea / Anyone Else can modify it to not use Google for search results.

Sure, Android is open...when Google decides to stop withholding the source. Your statement is inaccurate, because Google has an approval process for Android licensees and has been accused of using that approval process to putt up roadblocks for phone vendors trying to ship Android phones with competing services like Bing. The source may (eventually) be open, but use of the Android trademark and other features requires playing ball with Google.

Your post is an example of what I predicted would happen [slashdot.org] , that certain posters would accuse the government of corruption and dismiss any idea that Google is a monopoly. The problem with your premise is one Korean device manufacturer is in a great position to abandon Google's version of Android--Samsung, which sells 55% of Android phones. With HTC and LG going down, that percentage is only going to increase. Samsung is in a position to not only threaten Google but to decide to pull an Amazon and make their own Android.

Re:Android is Open... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639818)

> Sure, Android is open...
> pull an Amazon and make their own Android

So... Is it closed, or is it open enough for anyone to "make their own Android"? Make up your mind!

The proof is in the possibility (4, Insightful)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639206)

"Google denies that its employees deleted documents or that it instructed them to work from home in order to impede the investigation."

Only evil corporations have their employees work from home...

And everyone knows the damning evidence wasn't there because they deleted it.

If there were real consequences this might matter

What about Apple, Microsoft ? (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639242)

There has never been such cases about them. they didnt have to be raided, they didnt have to delete files to escape investigation ........ they just dont get investigated. microsoft got bothered approx. 2 times in this entire 30 year period in its history. nothing more. freaking 30 years, total domination of personal computer compatibles, and just 2 times. one is the ie thing, and the other is eu's browser ballot box.

and dont get me started on apple.

maybe google also should start buying representatives and bureaucrats ........

Re:What about Apple, Microsoft ? (2, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639464)

Both MS and Apple have been repeatedly investigated by the EU. MS has had a trial in the US (which they lost). Apple was investigated a time or two, but not so much for monopoly practices (which is reasonable, given that they don't have one). Just because SK hasn't done so (and I don't know they haven't), means nothing. Governments rarely bother investigating trade practices of any corporation unless someone complains.

Re:What about Apple, Microsoft ? (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640194)

i dont know whether you are incapable of reading comprehension. in case you havent noticed, i have recounted the incidents. 'repeatedly investigated' -> does not mean shit. what happened with the investigations ? how many times were they raided ? how many fines they got ?

apple - never. microsoft 2 times. that's that.

Re:What about Apple, Microsoft ? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639796)

Ridiculous. Microsoft has been the subject of antitrust regulation for the last 10 years, especially in the EU, and the only product Apple arguably could have been accused of having a monopoly on was portable music players, where there were plenty of competitors in the market.

Honestly, your post comes off as sour grapes. Should Google be exempt from these investigations just because you don't like Microsoft and Apple?

Re:What about Apple, Microsoft ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38640204)

im going to slap the same reply i made to someone who had reading comprehension problems like you.

i dont know whether you are incapable of reading comprehension. in case you havent noticed, i have recounted the incidents. 'repeatedly investigated' -> does not mean shit. what happened with the investigations ? how many times were they raided ? how many fines they got ?

apple - never. microsoft 2 times. that's that.

Wow. I guess we're next. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639254)

Some of our employees sometimes work from home, and we regularly delete files (because it's cheaper than buying more storage).

This is going to offend someone (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639282)

BUT

I worked for a south Korean company for quite a few years, you were expected to know exactly what they wanted with little to no detail (like one day the main manager walked in told me I was going to make him a parts sales forecast and walked out ... I was a 12$ an hour box monkey in the warehouse), and every single time they would act like pissy little babies when they did not get exactly what was in their mind, call you names and threaten your job.

so I don't find this surprising at all

First, do no harm (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639294)

Fine print:

Unless you stockholders' monetary interests are at stake.

Fair Play, Google (2)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639550)

Ridiculous nonsense inquests deserve ridiculous nonsense responses. +1 Google, WTG!

Oops....didn't read the fine print..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639598)

Oops....didn't read the fine print.....

"Don't be (caught being) evil."

But AppleSoft did XY and Z! (1)

justdiver (2478536) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639650)

This isn't Microsoft or Apple. This is Google and only Google's actions are in question here. Whether or not Microsoft or Apple are/were guilty of anything is far from the point.

It's a Korean thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639702)

Trust me, I've worked in South Korea and with South Korean nationals in the US. Corruption, bribery, ignoring regulations, covering up when things go wrong... it's all a cultural thing in South Korea. They think Americans are too uptight, suing each other all the time. They prefer that everything is a backdoor deal.

Delete files, work from home (0)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38639706)

"Google deleted files and made its employees work from home"

How do they know they "deleted files", if they were deleted?

How does an employee working from home hinder an investigation?

I work in IT and I'm fortunate enough to be able to work from home from time to time. My job also involves deleting files some times. You know, outdated code, and the like. So, suit me.

Google is a godsend to S. Korea..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639846)

Let's see, 478 GAZILLION dollars of product sold from Samsung, LG, Hyundai, etc for Android and other devices.
Talk about biting the hand that has helped feed them.
Handle North Korea on your own then.

they poor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38639880)

why'd they have to raid google's office? couldn't afford to pickup a few handsets and check them out? :D

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