Google probed for anti-competitive practices in India, could face $5 billion fine

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has initiated a probe against Google for anti-competitive behaviour which could result in the company facing a $5 billion fine, if found guilty.

CCI received complaints from an advocacy group, CUTS International and an Indian matrimonial website two years ago, that Google has been using its dominant market position to alter search keywords pointing to the website. Under competition regulations, an entity found violating the norms could be slapped with a penalty of up to 10 percent of its three-year annual average turnover. For Google, its annual revenues in the last three years amounts to $49.3 billion which results in a maximum penalty of nearly $5 billion.

Google has settled the anti-trust cases with European and American regulators, however, CCI does not have the provision for settlements and a complaint filed with the Commission cannot be withdrawn.

A detailed probe from the Director General has been requested by the CCI, to which the DG is expected to respond soon with a report containing comments from third-parties as well. Google has come under fire for its anti-competitive practices in the EU, many times and has managed to settle the issues, however, legal counsel for the matrimony website, Ferida Satarawala said, "Google's unfair use of trademarks as well as its retaliatory conduct are not specifically addressed in the European settlement and are distinct theories of harm being pursued by the CCI. Therefore, this settlement is unlikely to address CCI's concerns in our case".

Source: Times of India

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