Google may have thwarted Tizen development, investigation underway
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the possibility that Google might have thwarted Samsung’s development of its Tizen platform. The latest investigation is focusing on the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement that Google and Samsung signed in 2011. This agreement binds Samsung to make sure that all of its Android smartphones use Google as their default search engine and that the company’s apps like Google Play, Gmail, and YouTube are pre-installed on all of its Android handsets.
Google and Samsung also signed an anti-fragmentation agreement which bars Samsung from developing its own operating system based on Android despite the fact that companies like Amazon and Xiaomi have both built their own platforms on top of the Android Open Source Project. Concerns have been raised over this in South Korea and the country’s FTC believes that these agreements might have compelled Samsung to adopt a more reserved approach to the development of the Tizen platform as it’s incompatible with Android apps. An FTC official confirmed to The Korea Times that “We are currently checking if Google thwarted competition in the OS market.”
A spokesman for Google Korea said that “Android is an open source platform. Our partner agreements are entirely voluntary — anyone can use Android without Google,” further elaborating that “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.”