Monday, 10 March 2014

EU Settlement

Although the Google antitrust settlement in Europe isn’t final it appears we’re in the final minutes of the final act. There still may be a surprise or two in store but we mostly know how this story is going to end. Now it appears the Google antitrust drama is shifting to India, where an antitrust investigation against the company is ongoing.

According to a report in the Times of India, that country’s competition authority, the Competition
Commission of India (CCI), has the power to impose a fine of up 10 percent annual revenues, averaged over a three year period. That could mean up to $5 billion in Google’s case if competition “norms” are determined to have been violated. The CCI is also “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.”

The Times of India reports that there’s no comparable settlement process available to Google as there was in the US and Europe. Thus it’s implied that there’s either a finding of a violation or an exoneration. CCI was established by the parliamentary Competition Act of 2002 (embedded below). The act seeks to protect competition in India by regulating and prohibiting anticompetitive mergers, abuse of dominant market position and anticompetitive contracts and agreements. The investigation against Google is still in process. It’s not clear what the outcome will be although the Times of India says that there was “prima facie evidence of violations,” taking the investigation to the next level.