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South Korea fines Google ₩207 billion for forking up attempts at creating Android variants

Summary

 South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has fined Google ₩207 billion (US$177M) for abusing its market dominance in mobile operating systems by prohibiting forks of Android.

 

Quotes

Quote

As explained in an announcement, the Commission took exception to Google's practice of requiring companies that sought early access to information about forthcoming Android releases – essential info for handset-makers – to sign an anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA) that prohibited them from forking Android.

Without signing the AFA, handset-makers were also denied the chance to sign a Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) that allows installation of Google's Play store, Google Search, and YouTube on their devices. The Commission explains the chilling effect the two agreements imparted by revealing that LG helped Amazon.com to develop its Fire Tablet – a cheap device running an Android fork. But after prototypes had been developed, LG realised the AFA and MADA agreements were a risk to its access to Android for its own-brand devices, so stopped working on the Bezosian tablet.

Samsung's first attempt at creating a smartwatch was also stymied by Google, the Commission argued, with the result that it was forced to develope the Tizen OS – despite it lacking an ecosystem of third-party apps – rather than cutting Android to fit the application. Google didn't even have an OS for wearables at the time.

The Commission argued that Google's actions hurt innovation in many product categories and cemented Google's monopoly in mobile OSes and apps. The organisation concluded that Google needs to feel some hip pocket pain and be prevented from requiring AFAs in future.

It's not a whole lot of hip-pocket pain though: Google's 2020 revenue was US$146.9 billion and net income cracked $40 billion. South Korea's fine will scarcely sting.

The decision looks like too little, too late, because Android is now utterly dominant in the smartphone market. Samsung is completely committed to it and, while it includes its own app store in most of the 200-million-plus devices it ships each year, it has negligible market share. Nor could Android alone save LG, which quit the mobile phone business in April 2021.

Ironically, being forced to develop Tizen worked out for Samsung, which uses it in its smart televisions and recently saw Google give up on its Wear OS and merge it with Tizen. Who knows what might have happened if Google had allowed Samsung to create a wearable-specific fork that punters actually wanted?

The answer might be found in India, where Google has allowed and assisted development of an Android fork tied to just one handset. Google and its partner in India, Reliance Jio, see that effort as a way to secure tens of millions of new Android users it can't reach with other cuts of the OS. So Android forks can clearly be helpful to Google – when they're done on Google's terms. ®

 

My thoughts

Well, this is rather interesting. Now, I am wholeheartedly on the side of South Korea on this matter..... but come on couldn't you have done a little bit more? (And surely, this has nothing to do with LG or Samsung).  Well, we'll have to see how this pans out, if this prompts other countries to do something similar, maybe google will have to change their licensing terms or something. (Note: For those thinking of custom ROMs, they aren't Forks of Android but Rather of AOSP, the underlying project below android)

Sources

The Register

Korean FTC (in Korean)

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Is this from Samusung then similar?

 They don `t allow even activation of the boot-loader, forget about forking the software.

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1 hour ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

by prohibiting forks of Android.

If i'm reading your source right, then thats a lie. They can still fork android, its just google wouldn't give them early access to builds or any google apps, which sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

 

1 hour ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

It's not a whole lot of hip-pocket pain though: Google's 2020 revenue was US$146.9 billion and net income cracked $40 billion. South Korea's fine will scarcely sting.

I hate when people say this stuff. Yes, this one lawsuit won't bankrupt google. Does that mean it won't affect them? no. It will absolutely have an affect, most importantly, this isn't the only lawsuit google has faced in existence. Add up all their other lawsuits too.

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1 hour ago, Kadzo said:

Is this from Samusung then similar?

-video-

 They don `t allow even activation of the boot-loader, forget about forking the software.

That's a very different thing.

It's different laws that governs what companies are allowed to do against other companies, and what companies are allowed to do against end customers. At least it works that way in the EU and the US, and probably South Korea as well.

 

Google are trying to block companies from competing with them.

Samsung are trying to block customers from changing their devices in ways Samsung don't like.

 

 

  

8 minutes ago, poochyena said:

Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

People need to stop saying this. It is not true in any civilized country in the world, and we should be very thankful companies aren't allowed to do whatever they want with their services. The world would be absolutely awful if they could.

You might object to this particular ruling, but let's hope that we can at least come to agree that we should not have a world with zero laws and regulations for what companies are allowed to do with their services.

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18 minutes ago, poochyena said:

If i'm reading your source right, then thats a lie. They can still fork android, its just google wouldn't give them early access to builds or any google apps, which sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

 

I hate when people say this stuff. Yes, this one lawsuit won't bankrupt google. Does that mean it won't affect them? no. It will absolutely have an affect, most importantly, this isn't the only lawsuit google has faced in existence. Add up all their other lawsuits too.

Good points except for :

Quote

Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

 

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31 minutes ago, poochyena said:

Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

No. This argument basically means that you're never allowed to criticize any company ever for anything they do

 

Don't like Windows data collection or their forced updates? It's their OS, they can do what they like.

Don't like facebook snooping through your messages and photos? their platform, their rules.

Don't like LTT's click-baity as fuck titles and thumbnails? Their channel, their choice.

Certain VPN provider lying about not tracking you? too bad, their service, their rules.

 

no one, especially massive faceless corporations, should ever be above criticism, and yet people are content to just let them run amok because they created something you like.

 

 

You can refer to my signature that i've had for about the last year

Quote

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

Take what ever you're looking at and now pretend it was made by a different company, would you still have the same opinion of it?

 

let's say instead of google and android, it was the Debian project and debian itself now putting limitations on its forks.

🌲🌲🌲

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

Don't dilute <good thing> by always trying to focus on, and drag conversation back to, <bad thing>.

🌲🌲🌲

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1 hour ago, Arika S said:

let's say instead of google and android, it was the Debian project and debian itself now putting limitations on its forks.

I see Pitchforks outside the homes of Debian developers

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8 minutes ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

I see Pitchforks outside the homes of Debian developers

Debian would have died off like softlanding and mandriva if there were no distros based on top off it.

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6 hours ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

Good points except for :

Quote

Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

 

See:

6 hours ago, LAwLz said:

People need to stop saying this. It is not true in any civilized country in the world, and we should be very thankful companies aren't allowed to do whatever they want with their services. The world would be absolutely awful if they could.

You might object to this particular ruling, but let's hope that we can at least come to agree that we should not have a world with zero laws and regulations for what companies are allowed to do with their services.

 

The problem in this case is that Google used their position of power to threaten other companies developing their own services. LG stopped helping Amazon with the Fire Tablet because if LG helped Amazon make a competitor to Google, Google could have prevented LG from selling phones with Android on them. That's fucked up.

 

If we were to allow this kind of business practices (which we don't, in the EU or US) then the implication is that we would end up having to allow some seriously messed up tactics. For example, would you be okay with this scenario.

The year is 2017. AMD has just released their Ryzen 1000 series. It's their first good processor that can actually compete with Intel in a long time.

Intel sees this as a threat and contacts Newegg, Amazon, all the other PC hardware retailers, as well as the PC manufacturers like HP and Dell.

Quote

 

Intel: Hi <brand>! You know how we usually sell you our processors for 200 dollars and then you sell them for 220? We are interested in giving you a new rebate! Instead of paying us 200 dollars, we will lower the price to 150 dollars. All you have to do is not sell any AMD processors. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? 

Oh also, if you do start selling any AMD processors we will stop supplying you with Intel processors. Have fun going bankrupt if you don't do what we say. 🙂

 

 

 

By your logic and morals, this should be completely fine. It's Intel's processors after all. They should be allowed to give any rebates they want, and to anyone they want. Hell, they should even be allowed to not sell their processors to someone they don't like.

Meanwhile, if this type of practice was allowed (which it isn't), Intel could just eat the cost for a year or maybe even a couple of years, and AMD would go bankrupt because they couldn't sell their new product.

 

 

This is why companies have restrictions on them how they are allowed to structure deals and even who they are or aren't allowed to sell their products to.

Google shouldn't (and can't) tell LG "stop developing a competitor or else you won't be allowed to sell Android smartphones" just like Intel can't tell Newegg to stop selling AMD processors or else they won't be allowed to sell Intel processors.

It's anti-competitive. It's abusive.

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2 hours ago, LAwLz said:

See:

 

The problem in this case is that Google used their position of power to threaten other companies developing their own services. LG stopped helping Amazon with the Fire Tablet because if LG helped Amazon make a competitor to Google, Google could have prevented LG from selling phones with Android on them. That's fucked up.

 

If we were to allow this kind of business practices (which we don't, in the EU or US) then the implication is that we would end up having to allow some seriously messed up tactics. For example, would you be okay with this scenario.

The year is 2017. AMD has just released their Ryzen 1000 series. It's their first good processor that can actually compete with Intel in a long time.

Intel sees this as a threat and contacts Newegg, Amazon, all the other PC hardware retailers, as well as the PC manufacturers like HP and Dell.

Intel: Hi <brand>! You know how we usually sell you our processors for 200 dollars and then you sell them for 220? We are interested in giving you a new rebate! Instead of paying us 200 dollars, we will lower the price to 150 dollars. All you have to do is not sell any AMD processors. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? 

Oh also, if you do start selling any AMD processors we will stop supplying you with Intel processors. Have fun going bankrupt if you don't do what we say. 🙂

 

 

By your logic and morals, this should be completely fine. It's Intel's processors after all. They should be allowed to give any rebates they want, and to anyone they want. Hell, they should even be allowed to not sell their processors to someone they don't like.

Meanwhile, if this type of practice was allowed (which it isn't), Intel could just eat the cost for a year or maybe even a couple of years, and AMD would go bankrupt because they couldn't sell their new product.

 

 

This is why companies have restrictions on them how they are allowed to structure deals and even who they are or aren't allowed to sell their products to.

Google shouldn't (and can't) tell LG "stop developing a competitor or else you won't be allowed to sell Android smartphones" just like Intel can't tell Newegg to stop selling AMD processors or else they won't be allowed to sell Intel processors.

It's anti-competitive. It's abusive.

Good luck showing some sense in this forum, at this point, unless it's ms to some extent, the m.o. Is "their platform, their rules"

One day I will be able to play Monster Hunter Frontier in French/Italian/English on my PC, it's just a matter of time... 4 5 6 7 8 9 years later: It's finally coming!!!

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Laptops: Macbook Pro 15" (mid-2012) | Compaq Presario V6000

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9 hours ago, poochyena said:

If i'm reading your source right, then thats a lie. They can still fork android, its just google wouldn't give them early access to builds or any google apps, which sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want.

This is I think a really hard issue to tackle.  At least what is visible externally, it does seem that Google is using their position of power in a monopolistic way; which it should not ever be allowed to do.

 

A key point here is if you don't sign up for early access, you don't get access to Google Play, Youtube or other Google services (which make up a large chunk of what Android users expect).  If you sign up for the early access though, you are prevented from creating your own devices that use a forked version.  So in effect, it effectively makes forking a no-go for anyone serious about making an android phone (especially now that more and more apps are being linked to Google Services).

 

I do get that Google should be allowed more leway in terms of what they are forcing on companies, as the tight integration with Google services (and then controlling default searches) is where they intended to make their money off of...but there needs to be a certain amount of limitations.

 

With all this said, I don't know what the early access agreement is like and how much of the Google Services agreement is requiring early access so that when they update Google Services it doesn't break on a bunch of phones (because the companies weren't able to test and adjust the OS)

3735928559 - Beware of the dead beef

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10 hours ago, poochyena said:

Its their services, they should be able to make any rules they want..

Of course, like I'm dumb enough to give them my butt... Nope, there is a consent.

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11 hours ago, LAwLz said:

You might object to this particular ruling, but let's hope that we can at least come to agree that we should not have a world with zero laws and regulations for what companies are allowed to do with their services.

they SHOULD be able to do what they want with their product, whether it be sell it, give it away, hoard it, whatever. It's there's.

10 hours ago, Arika S said:

This argument basically means that you're never allowed to criticize any company ever for anything they do

uhh, big difference between criticize and outlaw. I said they should be able to, not that whatever they do is a good decision.

1 hour ago, wanderingfool2 said:

you don't get access to Google Play, Youtube or other Google services (which make up a large chunk of what Android users expect).

And thats an entirely separate issue. If you are relying too heavily on a single service, thats its own issue.

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177M? I'm afraid thats just peanuts for "google"... what they spent on stuff like "Stadia"?

 

 

AMD stands for Advanced Micro Machines

-ColdFusion, 2021

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17 minutes ago, Mark Kaine said:

177M? I'm afraid thats just peanuts for "google"... what they spent on stuff like "Stadia"?

 

 

Too true. I also forgot that Stadia is a thing. 😆

Leonidas

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1 hour ago, poochyena said:

they SHOULD be able to do what they want with their product, whether it be sell it, give it away, hoard it, whatever. It's there's.

No, they shouldn't. Can't you see why your opinion is extremely harmful and dangerous?

It's like saying "I should be allowed to shoot into a crowd of people. It's my gun and my bullets after all". You are not allowed to do things that harm others, even if it's "your product". If you don't think that's fair then I sincerely hope you never get into a position of power, because you seem to lack all kinds of empathy and morality.

 

It really feels like I am talking to a psychopathy right now that doesn't understand why we have laws like "you are not allowed to assault someone".

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55 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

It's like saying "I should be allowed to shoot into a crowd of people. It's my gun and my bullets after all".

huh? You have completely misread what I said. I didn't say they should be able to USE it how ever they want. Stick to what I said, not made up hyperbole.

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16 minutes ago, poochyena said:

huh? You have completely misread what I said. I didn't say they should be able to USE it how ever they want. Stick to what I said, not made up hyperbole.

He made a point and a comparison of how you are as a human, eh I mean psychopath.

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30 minutes ago, poochyena said:

huh? You have completely misread what I said. I didn't say they should be able to USE it how ever they want. Stick to what I said, not made up hyperbole.

Then I must have misunderstood you. So you do agree that companies shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want with their services, correct? That "it's their service" is not a reason for allowing them to use their service to harm competitors. 

 

Because here is the conversation and I don't rally see how I can interpret you in any way other than you thinking it should be okay for companies to abuse their powers to harm others. 

 

Me:

14 hours ago, LAwLz said:

You might object to this particular ruling, but let's hope that we can at least come to agree that we should not have a world with zero laws and regulations for what companies are allowed to do with their services.

 

You:

2 hours ago, poochyena said:

they SHOULD be able to do what they want with their product, whether it be sell it, give it away, hoard it, whatever. It's there's.

 

Me: 

1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

It's like saying "I should be allowed to shoot into a crowd of people. It's my gun and my bullets after all". You are not allowed to do things that harm others, even if it's "your product".

 

You:

35 minutes ago, poochyena said:

I didn't say they should be able to USE it how ever they want.

 

 

It seems like you are making a differentiation between "use" and "do whatever they want" and i don't understand how they are different.

If Intel tells Newegg "stop selling Ryzen CPUs or else we won't sell you any of our CPUs", how is that not "Intel using their CPUs" as a threat? 

If Google tells LG "stop helping Amazon with the Fire Tablet or else you won't be allowed to use Android on any of your phones" how is that not Google using Android as leverage to push LG around? 

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3 hours ago, poochyena said:

And thats an entirely separate issue. If you are relying too heavily on a single service, thats its own issue.

It's not a separate issue...it's literally part of the issue.  You fork Android and you aren't allowed using any of the Google services (which again, makes up the vast amount of apps that users expect).  Imagine if Google decided to pull YouTube app, Chrome, Maps, etc off of Apple Store unless Apple set them as the default search engine.  To utilize market dominance to force companies to comply is not right.

3735928559 - Beware of the dead beef

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19 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Then I must have misunderstood you. So you do agree that companies shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want with their services, correct?

I spelled it out very clearly already. They SHOULD be able to do what they want with their product, whether it be sell it, give it away, hoard it, whatever. It's there's.

Do you understand the differences between doing something with an object vs using an object?

19 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

It seems like you are making a differentiation between "use" and "do whatever they want" and i don't understand how they are different.

You don't need a drivers license to own a car. You can have to towed, you can paint it, you can sell it, but you can't *use* it.

19 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

If Intel tells Newegg "stop selling Ryzen CPUs or else we won't sell you any of our CPUs", how is that not "Intel using their CPUs" as a threat? 

Its absolutely a threat and I would absolutely support it legally. I think its a terrible business decision for newegg to accept, but it should be legal. Newegg should have every right to decide if they want to continue to sell AMD or Intel chips or not, and Intel should have every right to control who is allowed to buy their product.

19 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

If Google tells LG "stop helping Amazon with the Fire Tablet or else you won't be allowed to use Android on any of your phones" how is that not Google using Android as leverage to push LG around? 

Isn't Android open source? I'm not 100% sure how it works, but while google can stop others using their services, they can't completely prevent someone from using a variation of android, right?

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5 minutes ago, poochyena said:

Do you understand the differences between doing something with an object vs using an object?

I honestly don't. Can you explain it to me?

Maybe it's because English is my second language, but to me "using and object" and "doing something with an object" are the same thing.

"I am using this stick to hit someone"

and

"I am hitting someone with this stick"

 

are the same things to me.

 

4 minutes ago, poochyena said:

Its absolutely a threat and I would absolutely support it legally.

And now we're back to this again:

2 hours ago, LAwLz said:

It really feels like I am talking to a psychopathy right now that doesn't understand why we have laws like "you are not allowed to assault someone".

 

 

7 minutes ago, poochyena said:

I think its a terrible business decision for newegg to accept, but it should be legal.

Maybe it wouldn't have been, and if it wasn't AMD might have ended up going bankrupt.

 

8 minutes ago, poochyena said:

Newegg should have every right to decide if they want to continue to sell AMD or Intel chips or not, and Intel should have every right to control who is allowed to buy their product.

How can you possibly be okay with allowing mega corporations to threaten others to comply with their demands? Do you think bribing should be legal too? Blackmailing? Extortion? Discrimination? Again, I am not exaggerating when I say it really feels like I am talking to a psychopath. I feel like this is some political stance you have taken without thinking it through properly, and now don't want to back down.

 

9 minutes ago, poochyena said:

Isn't Android open source? I'm not 100% sure how it works, but while google can stop others using their services, they can't completely prevent someone from using a variation of android, right?

Right, but by threatening punishment if they don't comply with their rules, they can essentially prevent someone from using a fork of Android.

It's like saying "Either you give me your money, or I stab you in the stomach. The choice is yours". It's not really a choice when one option will result in someone causing you harm.

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well at least we can look on the bright side, this may be the first step where google has to separate android from itself because some government ruled that it has to much power over the mobile space.

and before anyone says anything, currently a lot of governments see IOS as androids competitor, as such they think the mobile space isn't google dominated when it currently is.
it's not right that they see it this way but these guys are 80, they don't know wtf a jpeg is, so long as they see a photo of their granddaughter they could care less about what format it is in.

*Insert Witty Signature here*

System Config: https://au.pcpartpicker.com/list/Tncs9N

 

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23 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

"I am using this stick to hit someone"

and

"I am hitting someone with this stick"

 

are the same things to me.

that isthe same. whats different is "I am using this stick to hit someone" and "I painted the stick"
first one is using the object, 2nd one is doing something to it without using it.

 

25 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

And now we're back to this again:

I don't get it. Are you suggesting business threats are the same as physical threats? Like, a business threatening to boycott another business is just as bad as someone threatening phsyical harm to someone?

 

26 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Maybe it wouldn't have been, and if it wasn't AMD might have ended up going bankrupt.

hey, their business, their choice.

27 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

How can you possibly be okay with allowing mega corporations to threaten others to comply with their demands?

Because its their business, should be their choice.

27 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Do you think bribing should be legal too?

It already is, bribing is just illegal if you bribe someone to break the law.

29 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Blackmailing? Extortion?

no, thats specifically what i'm against. I support businesses and individuals having choices in their actions. Those things take away choices. I see no reason to why a business should be forced to work with a business they don't like. Would you be ok forcing a vegetarian restaurant to do business with a slaughterhouse? If a company doesn't want to sell another companies's products, they shouldn't be forced to.

35 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

It's like saying "Either you give me your money, or I stab you in the stomach. The choice is yours"

ok what is with you? Why do you consistently bring up physical violence? Did I miss something? Is google threatening physical harm to someone? They are just saying "we won't work with you if you don't follow these rules", which is no different than any other business or even the LTT forums.

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It's funny how "news" change with the pov...

 

It's been a positive week for digital privacy:

—The EU imposed a major €225m fine on WhatsApp for misleading users

South Korea banned Google & Apple from forcing developers to use their app stores

—The FTC banned SpyFone, a harmful stalkerware app

 

(courtesy of Protonmail)

 

 

So basically they did what Epic wanted from US courts? 

 

Or is this a different news, it sounds hella similar... 🤔

AMD stands for Advanced Micro Machines

-ColdFusion, 2021

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