Google apps dropped from new Android phones in Turkey over search dispute

Google reportedly asks business partners to apply pressure to Turkey's competition regulator.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has warned its business partners in Turkey that it can't work with them on new Android phones due to a recent ruling from its competition regulator over search.  

Specifically, new Android phones won't come with Google Mobile Services, including the Play Store, Search, Chrome, YouTube, Gmail and Maps. 

According to Reuters, Turkey's competition authority fined Google 93 million lira ($17.4 million) in September 2018 for violating competition law and gave it six months to make it comply with software sale regulations. The authority's board ruled on November 7 that Google's new contracts didn't comply with its decision because they didn't allow changes to the default search engine. 

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

The authority conducted a probe after receiving a complaint from Russian search rival, Yandex, and asked Google to amend its contracts to allow consumers to choose different search engines on Android. 

Devices already on the market are not affected by the licensing restrictions. 

"We've informed our business partners that we will not be able to work with them on new Android phones to be released for the Turkish market," Google said in a statement.

News of the restrictions was first reported by Haberturk, which notes that 95% of the nation's smartphone users have Android phones. 

The competition authority has imposed a fine of 0.05% of Google's revenue per day for failing to offer compliant contracts. Google has 60 days to challenge the ruling and has asked business partners to pressure the regulator to change its decision.  

SEE: Google: All Android users in the US just got RCS next-gen SMS

In Europe, Google is preparing to display a list of search rivals during the setup process on new Android devices in 2020. The move is its response to the EU's record €4.34bn fine for anticompetitive behavior to protect its search turf. Rivals will need to bid in an auction for space on the choice screen. 

But the company is facing opposition from rivals about the auction structure Google offers to European rivals of Google Shopping, which was also the subject of a 2017 antitrust ruling and €2.42bn ($2.72bn) fine.  

Editorial standards