Google has announced that new Android devices in Turkey will no-longer be sold with its own applications pre-installed following an antitrust dispute with authorities in the country.
“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 confirmed in a statement.
“Consumers will be able to purchase existing device models and will be able to use their devices and applications normally. Google’s other services will be unaffected.”
Android will of course be still available in the country, it is an open-source operating system after all, though Google has informed business partners in the country it will no-longer be able to work with them thanks to the friction with the Turkish Government.
The words Google and antitrust do of course sit together as comfortably as Bill and Ben, though it seems there is little chance of resolving this conflict in the immediate future. Google was found to be in the wrong following an antitrust investigation, though it has been unable to align itself to the demands of the authorities to move forward.
As part of the antitrust conclusion, Google was forced to pay 93 million lira ($17.4 million) and make changes to contracts with its business partners. Google complied, though on November 7, Turkey’s competition board said the changes were not sufficient.
The original complaint was filed by Russian search firm Yandex, with Turkish authorities hoping Google would allow consumers to choose which search engine was default on new devices. This was never going to be something Google would agree to, it undermines the business model after all, hence the situation today.
Google now has 60-days to appeal the decision, and while it might be uncomfortable for the moment, we cannot see the Turkish authorities winning this battle. Google holds the cards here; if it doesn’t like the situation it can always threaten to abandon Turkey, leaving Yandex the opportunity to distort competition. We struggle to see this being a palatable outcome for the Turkish competition board.