India Launches Antitrust Investigation Against Google

Tech Crunch, August 14, 2012

Google currently faces a number of antitrust investigations in the U.S. and Europe. To make matters worse, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) just announced that it is also launching an inquiry into Google’s business practices. The announcement follows a complaint by Indian consumer advocacy group Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International. That, sadly, is also the extend of the information given by India’s Competition Commission, but an August 2011 letter from CUTS to the Competition Commission (PDF) argues that “Google can potentially engage in anticompetitive activities to the possible detriment of these markets in India and that therefore such activities in this regard need to be thoroughly investigated by the CCI.”

In an additional press release from last year, CUTS also stresses that its basic concern is that “Google does not use its dominance in the search engine/online advertising markets to affect the growth of Indian search and advertising markets as well as related fast growing e-commerce markets like online shopping and online travel sites.” According to ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker, the CCI can levy fines of up 10% of a company’s revenue or 300% of its net profits.

Earlier this year, the WSJ already reported that this investigation was forthcoming. At the time, it looked like the investigation would only focus on Google’s advertising services and Google hadn’t been notified of the investigation yet.

Google currently faces similar investigations around the world. In the U.S., for example, the FTC and a number of state attorneys general are currently looking into Google’s business practices. The European Commission, too, has opened an investigation into a number of antitrust-related complaints against the company. It’s also facing similar investigations in Argentina and Korea and a number of British politicians have recently asked their government to look into Google’s tax practices in their country

This news item can also be viewed at: