March 17, 2010 12:31
NHN, the provider of Korea's most popular search engine Naver, is unhappy with the smartphone market where it claims rival Google is squeezing other companies out of business.
Samsung Electronics' Android phones set Google as the default search engine and include a shortcut to Google, while Apple's iPhones use the Safari Internet browser, where the Google page automatically pops up.
NHN CEO Kim Sang-hun said it is "virtually impossible" for competitors to enter the market as only Google is connected. "Users must be able to choose which search engines to use."
Naver might be an underdog in the global search engine market for smartphones, but it occupies 70 percent of market share in the PC Internet search engine market in Korea. Many small online businesses in turn fear a Naver monopoly, saying NHN is using its dominant position to engulf niche markets such as online real estate services and online shopping malls that used to belong to small websites.
Kim urged the government to "ensure fair competition in the search engine market for smartphones." But critics say NHN is in no position to cast the first stone.
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