Turkey Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Google And Android OS

Turkey has opened an inquiry into whether Google’s Android software ran afoul of the antitrust rules in the country.

According to a report in The New York Times, the investigation in Turkey is focused on the way Google offers up digital services as part of a suite of software related to Android, its widely popular mobile operating system. At last count it is run on more than 75 percent of the smartphones around the globe. Last year Yandex, a Google competitor based in Russia, lodged the complaint, contending cellphone makers have to use the Google services or they won’t get access to the latest Android version. Yandex argues that practice on the part of Google results in an uneven playing field and thus is unfair.

While the Turkish Competition Authority originally dismissed the complaint by Yandex, declining to pursue it, Monday (Mar. 6) it said it would investigate the matter to see if its practices violate antitrust and competition rules. This isn’t the first time Google has faced allegations that it has run afoul of antitrust rules in countries outside the U.S. According to The New York Times, there are three different competition charges in Europe alone, with Russia already finding that Google has broken antitrust laws in that country.

Regulators in the U.S. have also looked into Android and its search business but haven’t brought charges against the Internet search giant. Google has denied it broke laws and said that its services including search and online maps don’t hurt their competitors. The Times noted that during the past few years in Turkey the country’s president has blocked YouTube and social networks used by the opposition. Last year European regulators charged Google with abusing its position with Android to use it so that its other services benefit.