Google Discloses A Pair Of Overseas Probes
First Published Friday, 27th April 2012 08:04 pm - © 2012 Dow Jones
(Updates with comments from Argentine antitrust agency)
By John Letzing
Of Dow Jones NEWSWIRES
Google Inc. (GOOG) formally disclosed a pair of inquiries under way in Argentina and South Korea this week, adding to global scrutiny of the Internet giant.
Google disclosed in a quarterly regulatory filing that Argentina's antitrust agency and South Korea's Fair Trade Commission have each opened investigations into "certain business practices" at the Mountain View, California, company.
A company spokeswoman said in a statement that Argentina's regulator "notified us that they are conducting a preliminary inquiry into our search and search advertising services, and we are of course happy to answer their questions."
The Argentine antitrust agency, the CNDC, said in a statement that it is investigating Google to determine if the company has a dominant position in its respective markets that could affect Argentina.
A CNDC official said there is no deadline to finish the investigation.
Meanwhile, the probe in South Korea "is an ongoing inquiry that started last year and we continue to cooperate with regulators," the spokeswoman said.
Last year, South Korean police raided a local Google office as part of an investigation into how the company has been collecting location data about users through mobile phone advertising.
Google confirmed the raid at that time and said it was cooperating with the related investigation.
The probes disclosed in the regulatory filing Wednesday come as Google sees a growing level of scrutiny in both the U.S. and several overseas markets.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reviewing whether the company has abused its dominant position in the online search market, while the European Commission is also investigating antitrust complaints against the company.
On Thursday the FTC announced it had tapped experienced litigator Beth Wilkinson to lead its antitrust probe of Google.
Google's shares were down 0.2% at $614.03 less than a half hour from the market close.
-By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-8230; firstname.lastname@example.org
--Ken Parks contributed to this article.