CCI to probe Google for alleged abuse of dominant position

Livemint, May 13, 2014

The order comes on a businessman s complaint who alleges Google terminated his Adwords account

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a probe against Google Inc. for allegedly abusing its dominant position in online search advertising. The order came on a complaint filed by Vishal Gupta, a businessman.

The 15 April order was posted on the competition watchdog s website on Tuesday.

The Commission is of the opinion that an investigation would be required to determine the nature and extent of problems that have prompted Googleto take actions against the RTS (remote technology support) industry and whether or not the termination was a legitimate action, the Competition Commission said in its order. The investigation also needs to determine if Google could have taken less damaging courses of action such as filtering out fraudulent firms and maintaining contracts with firms that have been operating genuinely for long periods of time,

Gupta has alleged that companies owned by him had been submitting advertisements in Google Adwords from January 2013 to October 2013, before the account was terminated by Google.

From the correspondence exchanged by and between the informant s group of companies and Google, it appears that the Adword account of the informant s group companies was terminated on 22.10.2013 on account of certain alleged violation of User Safety Policy of Google, the order says. It is unlikely that a firm operating under competitive constraints would undertake such actions that alienate consumers and generate bad will towards it, the CCI said while making out a case for probing Google.

A Google spokesperson in India said it is confident that the company s products are compliant with competition law in India. We are reviewing the order and will extend our full cooperation, the Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The commission has asked the director general incharge of investigations to complete the probe within 60 days.

The new probe comes even as the commission is already investigating a separate case against the company.

On 27 March, the Competition Commission had fined Google Rs.1 crore for not heeding instructions on that probe which was launched on a complaint filed by M/s Pvt. Ltd and Consumer Unity and Trust Society.

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