Abuse of dominance: CCI says Google probe only beginning

Indian Express, September 19, 2015

CCI investigation arm has submitted its report on the alleged anti-competitive practices of Internet major Google

The Competition Commission of India on Friday said that while its investigation wing has submitted the report on the alleged abuse of dominance by US-based search major Google, the comments of the concerned parties are yet to come.

“The case has been going on for some time now. The investigator has given the report. As per the process followed under the Competition Act as in other cases, the investigator’s report in a sense is only a beginning,” Ashok Chawla, chairman, Competition Commission of India, told reporters here.

In an interaction organised by the India Women Press Corps, Chawla said that Google is yet to submit its comments following the investigation even as he did not indicate whether the CCI would allow the two-month extension sought by the company for filing its reply.

The probe by director general investigation has found out that Google Inc allegedly abused its dominance in the Indian market by incorporating clauses in its agreements with users that restricted them from availing services of third-party search engines. The investigation has also found that some agreements the company had with other parties incorporated a one-sided clause relating to termination, possible for only those players who are dominant.

If found guilty, CCI can impose a penalty of up to 10 per cent of the company’s three-year annual average turnover, as per the Competition Act. The investigation was ordered after CUTS, a consumer rights website, in 2011, and BharatMatrimony.com, a matchmaking portal, in 2012, filed complaints with the commission against the alleged abuse of dominance by Google.

Last year, CCI imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on Google for non-cooperation in the probe. In its probe, the CCI has also red-flagged Google’s web search agreement and AdSense agreement with users. The investigator had also sought comments from several third parties.

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