THE COMPETITION BOARD OF TURKEY IMPOSES A FINE OF 93 MILLION TURKISH LIRAS UPON GOOGLE DUE TO ABUSE OF DOMINANCE
The Competition Board of Turkey has ruled that actions of the economic unit composed by Google LLC, Google International LLC and Google Reklamcilik ve Pazarlama Ltd. Sti. (Google’s company in Turkey) in relation to rendering of licensable smart mobile operating systems and mobile applications and services constitute abuse of dominance in their decision dated 20 September 2018 numbered 18-33/555273.
In this regard, it has been established that Google has dominance in the market of “licensable smart mobile operating systems”. Furthermore, Google’s practises of concluding Mobile Application Distribution Agreements with smart phone producers with provisions stipulating that the Google search engine is set default, that the Google Search box is placed on main screens of mobile phones, that Google Webview is designated as the default and sole constituent for the relevant function in mobile phones, are evaluated as abuse of dominance. All companies in the economic unit shall jointly and severally be liable for the fine amounting to 93,083,422.30 Turkish Liras.
In addition to the above, serving Google with a writ has been decided for adding an explicit provision in the Mobile Application Distribution Agreements as “pre-installation of rival applications shall not be prevented”. The Competition Authority has imposed obligations upon Google to abolish a number of their licensing conditions stipulating that the search engine shall be placed on the main screen, and set as default, and that Google Webview constituent shall exclusively be downloaded as the sole in-app web browser, and the Authority has prohibited to set forth any other provision directly or indirectly promoting the same.
Similarly, having established that Google has dominance in the markets of general internet search services, licensable smart phone operating systems, and app stores for the Android mobile operating systems; the European Commission has previously fined Google an amount of 4.34 billion Euros in the Commission’s decision dated 18 July 2018 with the number of Case AT.40099 – Google Android. In this decision, the EC has stated that the conditions for tying and bundling, a practice constituting abuse of dominance, existed in the case, and that Google Search application and Google Chrome browser were tied to mobile devices. Moreover, the Commission has determined that mobile devices producers were granted with illegal advantages for installation of Google Search on mobile devices, and that production of any other version of Android without Google’s approval were restrained. It has been emphasised that these practices have significantly hindered the possibility for rival browsers and search engines to compete with Google.