Following similar actions taken by authorities in Europe and other major economies, Japan’s competition watchdog announced on Monday that it had opened an investigation into Google (GOOGL.O) for a potential violation of anti-monopoly rules in web search services.
According to the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), it is being looked into whether Google violated the country’s antimonopoly act by giving Android smartphone manufacturers a portion of its income in exchange for not installing competing search engines.
It is also investigating Google’s practice of forcing manufacturers of Android phones to include the “Google Play” app with the “Google Search” and “Google Chrome” browser apps.
“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 representative of the JFTC stated at a news conference.
The representative claimed that while Google’s service was extensively utilized, the issue was actually with fair competition.
“We’ve launched this probe wondering if the situation under which other search engine providers’ services have a hard time being recognized as a user’s choice, no matter how much improvement has been made, is artificially created.”
The judgment comes after related inquiries by antitrust officials in the United States, the European Union, and other countries.