Android phones sold in Turkey may no longer have access to Google apps

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Android dudes (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Turkey's competition authority has fined Google over competition concerns and is asking the Palo Alto giant to change its software.
  • The dispute relates to the ability to change the default search engine on Android.
  • Google has informed its partners in the country that it will no longer work with them on new smartphone releases in the country for the foreseeable future.

Google seems to be in quite a pinch in Turkey. The company was fined to the tune of 93 million lire ($17.4 million) last year by the country's competition authority and asked to change its software to comply with local law. Despite changes, the inability to change the default search engine on Android left the agency dissatisfied, resulting in an additional fine of 0.05% of Google's revenue per day until the appropriate changes were made. The government has also asked Google to change its software distribution agreements to allow for search engine changes.

As a result, Google seems to be winding down its Android partnerships in the country, at least for the time being. The company described its reaction to the ruling as follows:

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.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.

The development may not be permanent, however. Google is allowed 60 days to petition the competition commission's ruling — which it most likely will do — and it's already said it's working with the authority to find a solution. In addition, it's hoping to leverage the local business community to persuade the regulator to change course; the company's announcement to its Turkish partners included the contact details of the trade minister and the head of the competition authority and asked for their support in helping to persuade the authorities.

Muhammad Jarir Kanji