Google has received the equivalent of SEK 1.5 billion in fines in South Korea as the company is considered to have abused its dominant position and prevented smartphone manufacturers from creating branches of Android.
The operating system is open source and companies can do whatever they want with the code. In order to get early access to the source code and be able to ship phones with the Play Store and Google services, however, manufacturers need to sign “anti-fragmentation agreements” (AFA) that prevent the companies from creating their own branches of the system.
According to the ruling, Google can no longer require manufacturers to sign these agreements in South Korea. Existing agreements must also be adapted. The ruling should not only apply to smartphones, but also Android on devices such as smartwatches and TVs.
Google will appeal, arguing that Android’s guidelines have helped South Korean manufacturers and developers innovate and succeed. The search giant has previously said that the agreements are needed to ensure compatibility and that apps work properly on all Android devices.
The ruling is the latest in a series of setbacks for Google and Apple. South Korea recently forced the companies to open up to other payment methods in their respective stores.