Korea’s Fair Trade Commission is currently investigating whether or not Google may have prevented Samsung from competing as aggressively as possible with its Tizen operating system.
Tizen currently powers Samsung’s smartwatches but was once also used in smartphones. It was developed to be a competitor to Android and is currently a top competitor to Android Wear.
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC), not to be mixed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), confirmed to The Korea Herald that it’s examining Google’s actions. “We are currently checking if Google thwarted competition in the OS market,” a Korea FTC official said.
The Korea Herald suggested that Korean feds noticed Google’s potentially unfair practices while investigating other complaints related to an agreement that put Google as the default search on Android smartphones. Another agreement, The Korea Times explained, prevented Samsung from using Google’s algorithms inside of Android to build its own operating system. That seems fair enough, but feds found “suspicious circumstances” of that agreement that raised red flags, according to The Korea Times.
Google doesn’t think there’s any concern
Google doesn’t think it did anything wrong. “Android is an open source platform,” Google told The Korea Times “Our partner agreements are entirely voluntary — anyone can use Android without Google. The Android OS can be downloaded for free. It can be modified and used to build a phone. Many companies have used Android’s source code as the starting point for their own operating systems.”
In that case, it sounds like Google isn’t preventing Samsung from using the aforementioned algorithms to build out Tizen. Perhaps there’s something deeper here, though, and I suppose that’s what the FTC intends to try to dig up.