Faces Antitrust Complaint In India For Potential
International Business Times,
June 11, 2012
Google was targeted for unethical and anti-competitive business
practices once again when a non-profit organization working on
public interest issues filed a complaint against the search engine
giant with the anti-trust body, Competition Commission of India
(CCI), Friday. This comes at a time when Google India is already
facing a formal probe on a similar complaint filed by an Indian
complaint is intended to investigate whether Google has been using
its market power in the search engine and online advertising
market to "affect" the growth of the Indian search, advertising
and related markets and to monitor acquisitions made by Google in
India primarily to tackle competition, said Consumer Unity and
Trust Society (CUTS) in a Preliminary Information Report (PIL)
submitted to the CCI.
"Given the size of the Internet economy and its exponential growth
trajectories, it is pertinent to look at the competitive market
structure and its conducts overall and also the dynamics between
small scale enterprises and large enterprises in India, in
specific," Udai Singh Mehta, Associate Director of CUTS
International, told the International Business Times.
Indian Internet economy represents approximately 5 percent of GDP,
and is projected that in absolute figures it will reach
approximately Rs.11 trillion market by 2016. Had internet been a
sector, it would have been the eighth largest sector in India,
larger than mining and utilities," said Mehta, adding that "any
unfair practice of Advertising Service Providers will have major
repercussions on small scale customers which can create favorable
conditions for market monopolization and possibilities of abuse."
CCI launched an investigation against Google in April after
Chennai-based Consim India Pvt Ltd that owns the matrimonial site
Bharat Matrimony had alleged that the Internet giant abused its
market dominance and indulged in unfair trade practices. The
findings are expected to be ready in three to four months.
query sent to Google on the latest antitrust complaint has not
Google has been facing investigations from the European Union
anti-trust authority since November 2010, after complaints arose
that it had abused its position to crush competition. This is an
accusation that Microsoft has often had to deal with in the past.
Ever since the investigation was underway, Google's Executive
Chairman Eric Schmidt has been campaigning to highlight how Europe
has benefited from Google.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also investigating the technology
that empowers Google to control 66 percent of the US search
market, followed by Bing with 15 percent market share and Yahoo
with 14 percent.
Mehta said the merit of the case against Google is that it "should
not abuse its market power," an argument that is "in line with
what is happening in Korea, Australia, EU, etc."
Google, however, denies having a monopoly in Search, saying that
competition is just one click away. It also argues that despite
being "very successful" in search advertising, "most large
advertisers tend to advertise in lots of different places.
Furthermore, advertisers are constantly shifting their ad dollars
among different types of media."
Mergers, though "usual practice in business" should be monitored
for anti-competitive intents before giving them a clean chit, said
Mehta. "But abuse of dominance can't be accepted in business as
usual practice and that's not a feature of competitive market."
"Regulation can remove some of the transparency problems which are
plaguing the Internet market," he said, adding that "more
information, if not full-information, is always good for a
Google has always denied the allegation of being a "black-box,"
saying that it "provides transparency, through webmaster central
site, blog, diagnostic tools, support forum and YouTube channel."
almost all the other antitrust complaints against Google, the case
filed by CUTS raises the question whether government regulation in
Internet enterprises is viable. "Yes, it is very much possible,"
said Mehta, but added that the case was not intended to treat
Google as a utility.
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