The Wind of U.S. Platform Regulation
The Wind of U.S. Platform Regulation
  • Woo Ji-min
  • 승인 2021.12.01 17:57
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The Wind of U.S. Platform Regulation comes to Korea. (Provided by Forbes)
The Wind of U.S. Platform Regulation comes to Korea. (Provided by Forbes)

  An antitrust bill aimed at Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple was announced in the United States in June 2021. The reason was related to the concentration of U.S. economic power by those companies over the past decade. The total market capitalization of the four companies has increased to 15% of all listed companies in the United States. In 2020, they accounted for about 30% of U.S. GDP. These companies also occupy exclusive positions in individual markets. Google maintains more than half of its market share in the social media market, including Google’s search engine, Amazon’s e-commerce, Apple’s mobile devices, and Facebook’s social media market. Antitrust bills began out of concerns that the entire U.S. economy was focused on these four companies.
  In Korea, many people think that Kakao Chairman Kim Bum-soo’s visit to the National Assembly was over a monopoly issue with Kakao. However, the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service invoked the Financial Consumer Protection Act, raising the issue of how to ban the sale, brokerage, and advice of financial products.
  Regarding monopolies, the United States has been very strict historically. The first anti-monopoly law in American history was the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. The law was named after John Sherman of the Republican Party. The most significant event in the history of antitrust regulations in the United States was Rockefeller’s dissolution of Standard Oil. Perhaps everyone will know of Rockefeller, the king of oil. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against Standard Oil in 1909 for violating the Sherman Act. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Department of Justice in 1911 and ordered the company’s division. As a result, Standard Oil was divided into 34 companies.
  In the 1990s, when IT became a trend, Microsoft (MS) became regulated. In 1998, when Microsoft sold the Windows Operating System, the Ministry of Justice took issue with bundle-selling other programs such as MS Word and Internet Explorer. The Ministry of Justice filed a complaint against Microsoft in 2000. It demanded that Microsoft should be divided into separate companies that sell operating systems and other programs, respectively. After a lengthy legal battle, Microsoft did not reach a corporate split. In 2002, the lawsuit was concluded to reorganize the way the business was operated with a fine.
  As such, the United States imposes firm legal regulations on monopolies. However, in Korea, there is no clear issue regarding monopoly as in the United States. Kakao voluntarily withdrew from certain businesses out of moral responsibility. CEO Lee Boo-jin of Hotel Shilla tried to enter the high-end market by creating a bakery called Artisé. However, under criticism of the infringement of commercial alley districts, Artisé failed to expand.
  However, in light of the growing importance of online platforms as intermediaries, the Korea Fair Trade Commission has been expressing concern that the existing legal framework under the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Law can be inadequate to tackle competitive issues arising in the sector.

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