Google Presence in India May Spur Investigation

Court House News, September 01, 2011

(CN) – A policy group in India urged the nation to investigate Google over potential anticompetitive practices there.
The Jaipur-based Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) has petitioned the Competition Commission of India to look into Google’s search engine and online advertising practices on the Indian market.

There are currently 100 million users on the quickly growing Internet market in India, the group said, adding that increasing mobile phone penetration adds more potential Web users. Anticompetitive investigations by the European Commission, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Texas Attorney General have suggested that Google could be restricting the growth of competing services in India, according to the petition.

Google has rebuffed these claims by pointing out that Web surfers retain the freedom to choose any search engine. The EU and FTC have been investigating allegations of preferential placement of Google services, including possible advertising exclusivity contracts.
CUTS warns that there could be vertical integration problems with Google’s acquisition of Motorola, which holds 17,000 patents.

Taking action now could prevent Android, Google’s smartphone operating system, from growing into a monopoly of Microsoft Windows proportions, according to the petition. The group previously asked the commission to investigate Apple’s iPhone, iPad and music services.

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