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Watchdog acquits Google of competition-hurting charges

SEJONG, July 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's antitrust watchdog has decided to acquit Google Inc. of charges filed by local portal operators that it had hurt fair market competition by forcing smartphone makers to "preload" its search engine on their handsets, a watchdog official said Thursday.

NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp., the country's two major Internet portal operators, filed complaints with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in April 2011, accusing Google of hurting fair market competition by obliging mobile phone makers to preload its search engine when offering its Android operating system to those producers.

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