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FTC in final stage of deliberation on Google in antitrust case: sources
SEJONG, May 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's corporate watchdog is expected to soon announce the results of its deliberation into an antitrust case against Google Inc. for its alleged involvement in activities that hurt fair market competition, industry sources said Friday.

   Some sources also speculate that the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) might be considering dropping the charges against the U.S. Internet search engine giant as it is in the final stage of its deliberation into the case.

   In 2011, NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp., South Korea's two major portal operators, filed a complaint against Google, accusing the company of hurting fair market competition by obliging mobile phone makers to "preload" its search engine only when offering its Android operating system to those producers.

   "We were informed that the FTC temporarily decided to drop the charges against Google though the whole process has yet to be finalized," a portal industry source said on condition of anonymity.

   The final decision, however, might be different as the FTC is now looking closely into how other similar pending cases in foreign countries against Google could play out going forward, they added.

   Last month, FairSearch.org, a group of 17 companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp., filed a complaint with the antitrust authorities of the European Union against Google.

   The coalition group claimed that Google took advantage of its market-dominating power by obliging smartphone makers to preload its applications such as Google Maps and YouTube on their mobile phones, a similar argument of NHN and Daum.

   Earlier, six European countries, including Britain, Germany and France, also vowed to form a joint front against Google, saying that its new personal information protection policy is not in sync with EU guidelines.

   The FTC appears to be closely watching the developments unfolding in other countries. "We are making a final-stage review by looking into similar cases in other countries and conducting strict checks on legal aspects," an FTC official said on condition of anonymity.

  (END)
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