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[March 10, 2014]
Google may have to cough up $ 5- bn CCI fine [Mail Today (India)]
(Mail Today (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) GOOGLE can face a penalty of up to $ 5 billion if the Competition Commission of India ( CCI) investigation finds that the global Internet giant has violated fair competition rules in India.
While Google has settled anti- trust cases in the US and the European Union, Indian competition regime does not have provisions for settlement process. Besides a complaint filed with CCI cannot be withdrawn.
The Google spokesperson is of the view that the favourable verdicts in the US and European cases reflect that the company's practices are fair and good for competition.
The case has been with the Competition Commission of India ( CCI) for over two years now and it relates to allegations that Google is abusing its dominant position in the Internet search engine space.
Under competition regulations, an entity found violating the norms could be slapped with penalty of up to 10 per cent of its three- year annual average turnover.
In the case of Google, its annual revenues in the last three years amounts to a staggering $ 49.3 billion and the maximum penalty can be up to nearly $ 5 billion.
A Google spokesperson said, " we are extending full co- operation to the Competition Commission of India in investigation." " We're pleased that the conclusion of the Federal Trade Commission's two year review was that Google's services are good for users and good for competition." CCI had referred the matter to its investigation arm for a detailed probe. Sources said that the DG has also collected comments from third- parties with regard to this case and it is likely to submit its report to CCI soon.
Apart from penalty, CCI is empowered to pass orders to correct a company's conduct in the market place. Also, the regulator can go for structural remedies that could see breaking up of dominant enterprises into separate businesses.
CCI had found a " prima facie " case to initiate evidence against Google for alleged abuse of its dominant market position.
In August 2011 advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society ( CUTS) had first filed a Preliminary Information Report with the Competition Commission to examine the anticompetitive practices indulged in by Google. CUTS' report states that Google's dominant position in online advertisement has impacted the growth of Indian search and advertising space.
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