On Friday Bloomberg reported that Google was being investigated for antitrust issues in both Argentina and South Korea. The news was obtained from a Google SEC filing.
The facts are vague. Both the Argentina and South Korean investigations appear to be ongoing and not new. The South Korean case dates from last year and was initiated by complaints from Google internet rivals Daum and NHN Corp. Android is the focus of the South Korean investigation if it is in fact the same one.
Google said it was cooperating with both investigations.
According to a statement provided to Bloomberg, “Argentina’s antitrust agency started investigating Google in November 2010 to determine if it holds a dominant position in the online search and advertising markets that could have an adverse effect on competition.” In addition, “The agency was considering an investigation into whether Google accepts payments in return for letting certain websites appear at the top of Internet searches,” reports Bloomberg.
Unless they’re mistakenly discussing AdWords, the latter issue reflects a misunderstanding of Google’s algorithm and should go nowhere.
Currently there are antitrust investigations drawing to a close in Europe and the US. Both sets could result in antitrust cases against Google. Indeed one or both probably will.
It’s highly unlikely that the company will escape litigation on both continents.