The Google office in Seoul has been raided once again by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) today as part of an investigation into claims that the search giant has adopted unfair trade practices in the country’s mobile search space, according to an announcement.
Update: Google responded to our request and the company has denied that its offices were raided by Korean authorities. Dow Jones has corrected its story, after an official changed an earlier statement that was made in relation to the investigation. The news agency is now reporting that a meeting between KFTC and unnamed “local partner companies of Google” occurred today.
The news comes less than a month after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met with the KFTC and a number of Android handset makers during a visit to the country, and represents the third time that authorities have searched the company country office.
The company premises in the Korean capital were searched during September as the KFTC investigated similar mobile-related complaints from NHN — the organisation behind leading search engine Naver — and Daum, which is Korea’s second largest search firm.
The duo accused Google of banning all South Korean phone manufacturers from including third-party search applications under its marketing contract as well as delaying the certification of handset makers that “violated the condition”.
Following the September raid, the company said that it was working to discuss the problems that the KFTC had with Android, and a spokesperson commented:
Android is an open platform, and carrier and OEM partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones. We do not require carriers or manufacturers to include Google Search or Google applications on Android-powered devices.
The Korean authorities have had other run-ins with Google in the past. Police raided the company’s offices back in May over what they perceived to be illegally obtained tracking data, a subject which saw Apple investigated in the country.
Google is yet to issue a statement on the latest investigation, but we have contacted the company for comment.