Turkey investigating antitrust complaint against Google

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Google is being investigated by Turkey’s Competition Board over a complaint brought against the search engine giant. The Competition Body will seek to find out whether Google violated the country’s competition law, reports Reuters.

According to a statement posted on its website on Monday, Turkey’s Competition Board said it was carrying out the investigation to determine whether Google’s contracts with equipment producers had violated its policy. The body will also seek to find out if Google’s mobile telecommunications systems, apps, and provision of services also breached laid down rules.

An earlier attempt to probe Google by the authorities in that country didn’t quite succeed as it was considered unnecessary. However, the position of the authorities had since changed considering the latest move.

Authorities in Russia recently slammed a fine of $6.75 million on the tech giant for violating its antitrust rules on mobile phones and tablets. Google’s problem with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) began in 2015 when Yandex (Russia’s version of Google, and one of the biggest search engines in the world) filed a complaint against it. The Russian search giant was unhappy with Google’s requirement for both tablet and smartphone for manufacturers to install Search, Maps, and other services as part of Google Play Store package.

Following complaints filed by Yandex, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service issued Google a one-month ultimatum in October 2015 to get rid of apps from phones—an order in which the company failed to comply with. Google’s reason for not complying with the order was based on how revenue generated from ads from its services helps it to cover costs of offering its popular Android operating system to users at no cost.

Most Android phones all over the world come pre-installed with Google apps—limiting the ability of a competitor like Yandex from competing on a level playing field. Yandex controls 60 percent of Russia’s market share, which by every standard makes it the biggest player in that part of the country. This, perhaps, explains why the company is desperate to end Google’s monopoly of apps on mobile phones.

In April 2015, Google’s Android OS came under the scrutiny of Margarethe Vestager—European Commission’s antitrust commissioner. The commission is tightening its noose on the tech giant, and is beaming more searchlight on its mobile operating system.

Vestager said during a conference held in the Netherland that the Commission is now “closely” monitoring the company’s contract with carriers and mobile manufacturers. The Commission’s concern is aimed at requirements Google places on its partners to have devices pre-installed with its apps. “Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.”

We will keep you informed of the latest as regards the investigation being carried out by the Turkish authorities as soon as we have an update.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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