COMPETITION AUTHORITY HAS IMPOSED PENALTY AGAINST GOOGLE FOR ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION! (FEBRUARY 2020)

The Competition Authority has initiated an investigation in December 2018, on the grounds that the economic integrity of Google Inc, Google International LLC and Google Advertising and Marketing Limited Company ("Google") acts against the competition.  

With this investigation, it was investigated that Google abused its dominant position in the general search market and create difficulties for its competitors in the online shopping services market, which  causes violation of  the sixth article of the Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition.   T

his investigation carried out by the Competition Board (the "Board") was consummated on 13.02.2020, and the Board decided unanimously that Google violated Article 6 of Law No. 4054.  

In its decision dated 13.02.2020, numbered 20-10 / 119-69, the Board first examined whether Google was in the dominant position or not and determined that Google was dominant in the general search services and online shopping comparison services markets.  

The Board's assessment of general search services and online shopping comparison services markets and the conditions under which these markets are not determined yet detailly by a justified decision. However, the determination of the dominant position indicates that Google's actions in this market will be closely followed by the Competition Authority.  

In the continuation of the decision, the Board stated that Google made its competitors offering shopping comparison services disadvantaged in competition, making their activities difficult and causing the competition in the shopping comparison services market to deteriorate. In this manner it has decided that Google violated article 6 of the Act No. 4054 with these actions.  

As a result of this violation, the Board announced that Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Ltd. Ltd. Şti., Google International LLC, Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited and Alphabet Inc. will be subject to an administrative fine of 98,354,027.39 TL, respectively, on the basis of their annual gross revenue determined by the Board.  

The Board emphasized the possibility of using Google's Shopping Unit, which is the subject of the investigation, in a way that could put its competitors in a disadvantaged position and brought some obligations to Google in addition to such fines.  

Accordingly, Google has been given a 3-month period to make the necessary adjustments and corrections regarding the Shopping Unit applications, which leads to restrictions on competitors' market activities.  

At the same time, the Board has rendered a decision for Google to report to the Authority, for a period of 5 years and once a year since the first compliance measure was introduced.  

Although the decision explanation text published by the Board allows us to understand the outline of the review, the question marks regarding the market research and the evaluation of the Shopping Unit application will finalize up on publication of the reasoned decision of the Board.