Google has been ordered to put a stop to its anti-competitive practices in Turkey.

The Turkish competition authorities have slapped a $15 million fine on Google for violating local competition laws. 

The investigation into Google's violation of local competition laws was initiated in March 2017, tasked with finding out whether Google's contracts with equipment producers, in addition to its mobile communications systems and for providing services which contravened local competition laws.  

This follows a similar ruling in July of this year in which the European Union Commission fined Google for $5 billion. 

The EU's largest ever fine levied towards one single company concerned the anti-competitive bundling of Google apps and its Chrome browser with the Android operating system. 

Google's dominance

In 2009 Google's Android operating system accounted for less than two percent of the software used in smartphones. By 2018 this figure had risen to a staggering 88 percent, leaving Google in a dominant position over its competitors globally. 

In Turkey, Google's Android operating system accounts for almost 82 percent of the smartphone market, while the Google search engine accounts for 96 percent. 

In all, Google's position in the Turkish market has become well-cemented. 

The Turkish competition authorities, like their Western peers are often playing catch up in a fast changing online market. 

Earlier this year the EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager warned against Google's illegal attempts at global dominance. 

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits," Vestage said.

When TRT World contacted Google's local affiliate in Turkey, Google International and Google Reklamcilik they said they have not yet formed a response to the ruling by the Turkish competition authorities.

New era new rules?

Across the world multinational transitional technology firms such as Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are coming under increasing scrutiny by competition authorities and policy makers. 

Too big to understand and often too quick for authorities to reasonably craft policies to manage these companies, most public bodies around are playing catch-up. 

Competition rules designed for an analogue age are increasingly looking outdated and slow in a digital age, where companies can capture market dominance not in the space of decades but in a few years, catching governments off guard. 

The Turkish competition authorities have in recent years taken a forward leaning position by going after firms abusing their dominant market position. 

This is the first fine Google has received in Turkey, and it could mark an increasing willingness by authorities to challenge the anti-competitive behaviour of multinational firms. 

Is the fine large enough to change Google's behaviour? It's too early to say, but in the meantime Google has been given six months to end the violation and ensure competitive market practices.