Rekabet Hukuku Haziran Bülteni

2024 Haziran ayında Rekabet hukukunda meydana gelen gelişmelere ilişkin bültenimiz yayınlanmıştır.
July 09, 2024

This newsletter updates readers on the recent developments occurred in June 2024 in the competition market. It includes (i) the administrative fine imposed on Google in relation to local search services, (ii) the investigation initiated against Apple Inc. and Apple Teknoloji ve Satış Limited Şirketi (“Apple”) and (iii) recent news.

1. The Fine Imposed on Google

As mentioned in our Competition Law Newsletter dated June 07, 2024, Google failed to fulfill its obligations in terms of local search services. Hence, a daily administrative fine was imposed on Google at 0,05% of its annual gross revenues in 2023 on May 9, 2024, until the obligations are fulfilled.

The Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) determined that Google fulfilled its obligations on May 21, 2024. Therefore, Board terminated the periodic fine imposed on Google on May 21, 2024. As a result, Board imposed a total administrative fine of approximately USD 14,650,455.90 due to the unfulfillment of measures of the local search services.

2. The Investigation Initiated Against Apple

2.1. Authority’s investigation in Türkiye

The Turkish Competition Authority (“Authority”) examined the Apple’s agreements and guidelines with the aim to determine whether Apple imposed various restrictions on payment systems for app developers in the App Store.

Apple’s agreements and guidelines prevent app developers from providing in-app information to their users on payment channels outside the app. Therefore, this may restrict consumers from accessing better options (at lower prices) since consumers become unaware of the (i) existence of alternative payment channels and (ii) price differences that may exist within and outside the app. Additionally, the app prohibits redirection to the alternative channels. Thereby, the Authority requires further examination since Apple makes its own payment system mandatory which removed app developer’s freedom of choice and prevents the entry of other payments system into the Apple ecosystem.

Furthermore, Apple’s own payment system is mandatory for in-app purchases. As a result, transactions involving in-app digital content purchases must be made by Apple’s payment system IAP. By this way, Apple receives %30 commission fees from sales made via IAP.

In this regard, with the decision dated May 21, 2024, the Board initiated an investigation with suspicion of Apple’s alleged abuse of its dominant position to determine whether Apple violated Article 6 of the Act No 4054 on the Protection of Competition (“Act”) by prohibiting use of other payment systems on their application store.

2.2. The European Commission’s (“Commission”) investigation in Europe

Commission examined Apple store rules whether they are in breach of the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) and initiated new non-compliance investigation against Apple.

Commission informed with its preliminary findings on concerns that AppStore rules breached DMA by preventing consumer from freely steering to alternative channels. Commission findings are as follows:

• Apple business terms does not allow app developers to freely steer their costumers,
 • Apple allows steering only through “link-outs, nevertheless ink-out process is subject to several restrictions imposed by Apple,
 • Apple imposes fee to app developers for the initial acquisition of a new customer. This fee is overpriced than it is required.

As indicated above, primarily findings are keen to show that Apple is in breach of DMA.

Additionally, the Commission initiated a new non-compliance procedure against Apple over concerns that its new contractual requirements for app developers are insufficient to ensure compliance under the DMA.

Commission also highlights that it will continue preliminary investigation on the checks and reviews put in place by Apple to validate apps and alternative app stores to be sideloaded.

3. Recent News

The recent news on June is as below:

• Commission fines International Flavors & Fragrances Euro 15.9 million for deleting WhatsApp messages during an antitrust inspection.
• An investigation launched against Tetra Laval Holding & Finance SA and Tetra Pak Paketleme Sanayi ve Ticaret Limited Şirketi (“Tetra”) to determine whether Tetra violated Article 6 of the Act by means abused its dominant position by using three-dimensional brand rights in the markets. In this regard, the hearing will be held in the Authority’s headquarter on July 23, 2024, at 10.30.
• The Board launched investigation on (i) Koruma Klor Alkali Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş to determine whether violated its obligations on obstructive and exclusionary behavior aimed at the activities of its competitors in the chlorine alkali sector, and (ii) Türkiye Şişe ve Cam Fabrikaları AŞ and Şişecam Çevre Sistemleri A.Ş. to determine whether Şişecam obstructed the activities of the other undertakings operating in the glass recycling sector.

Should you have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

                                                                                                           Selim Dündar                                       Dr. Faik Metin Tiryaki
                                                                                                                  Partner                                                          Partner