Enter "running shoes", "best laptop" or "camping equipment" on Google from almost anywhere in the world and at the top of the screen will appear a carousel of ads from sites that promote products for browsing and comparison. But not in Turkey.
Google deleted those ads last year after Turkish antitrust officials ordered the company to make it easier for competing shopping sites to appear more prominently in ads.
Turkish claims went further to crack down on Google's shopping service. But that was not all. In April, country officials made another bold move, saying the company's lucrative search function to find local destinations such as the "nearby pharmacy" violated antitrust laws, a first-of-its-kind decision that set the future for itself. service in question.
The tension between Turkey and Google reflects the growing hostility to Silicon Valley giants even in places like Turkey with a minimal history of antitrust enforcement against the industry. Efforts threaten to turn the tide - an open one global internet and mild government regulation - which have contributed to the growth of these companies over the past two decades. In their place could be a checklist of laws and regulations, where the available products and services will depend on where a person connects.
Some attribute Google's problems in Turkey in part to the President's increasingly authoritarian leadership Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his attempts to seize power from Western companies. But pushback in Turkey and elsewhere is being promoted by Google rivals such as Yelp. These competitors have spent years pushing regulators around the world to be tougher than the authorities in United States and Europe.
"Forces around the world believe that something needs to be done," said Harry Protos, a law professor at New York University.
In the past, countries have focused on domestic industries because they lacked the resources or knowledge to antitrust large international companies, said William E. Kovacic, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. But as more countries take action against Big Tech, he said, a "common intellectual infrastructure" makes it easier to hear a case. In Turkey, the authorities were based on the findings of the European Commission.
The number of countries with antitrust laws has exceeded 130, up from 30 in 1990, Kovacic said.
"Turkish tactics will be important," he said. "There will be other countries like this that say, 'Why not us?'
Google, which has successfully blocked some antitrust inquiries by Turkish regulators into online advertising and search rankings, said it had removed services such as market ads when changes requested by authorities would make them less profitable for users.
"We work constructively with regulators around the world to find fact-based and evidence-based solutions to address similar concerns without eliminating functions that people and businesses find useful," said Miguel Perez Guerra, senior competition consultant. for Google. statement.
Google's opponents went to the Turkish regulators in 2018 after the European Union imposed a fine of 2,42 billion euros on Google, because it favored its online shopping service over its rivals in search results. The fine was a record, but Google's opponents were angry that regulatory authorities did not force the company to change its practices further. Google continued to provide preferential treatment to its shopping service, they said, reducing web traffic and visibility to their sites.
The Turkish imposition is part of a broader push "making competition the norm in big tech-dominated markets," the agency said in a statement. "Our decisions are related to the efforts we observe in the rest of the world." The antitrust agency is also investigating Facebook data sharing practices.
Source of information: nytimes.com