Japan’s antitrust commission has launched a probe into Google for allegedly violating the Antimonopoly Act by demanding preferential treatment from smartphone manufacturers for its search services during their initial setup, a media report said on Monday.

According to Nikkei Asia, citing sources, the commission will examine actions such as requests by the tech giant to smartphone makers and others to set its search service as the default in handset software and functions.

Google has over 70 percent share of search in the Japanese market. The report mentioned that the commission has ruled that any agreement that unfairly benefits its search service or prohibits other companies’ services from entering the market would have a major impact on competition.

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The decision follows similar actions by antitrust regulators in the European Union (EU), the US, and others.

The US Justice Department alleged that Google, which has around 90 percent of the search market, has abused the dominance of its search engine to throttle competition and innovation.

Meanwhile, the Japanese antitrust commission has dealt with other big tech giants such as Amazon and Apple.

The commission accepted Amazon Japan’s plan to modify its business operations, which were suspected of breaking antitrust rules, in September 2020.

In September 2021, the commission decided to end its inquiry into Apple, in exchange for modifications to the payment arrangements for the ‘reader app,’ which allows users to browse and listen to diverse content.

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