In the past we have seen how Google has been moving from one antitrust drama to the next with the latest one being in India. Although Google has managed to get out-of-court settlements with Europe and the US, it appears that its latest accuser is not ready for negotiations.
Google experienced a hard time trying to reach an agreement with Europe after two former agreement proposals were rejected. The rival links provision of the settlement has been the cause for rejection. However, the third proposal from Google seems to have found a middle ground and Europe decided to withdraw its case. The agreement will see major modifications done by Google, which will change how search results appear in Europe.
The ink on the settlement with Europe has barely dried and Google has found itself in the hot spot again. All signs indicate that India is going to be a tough nut to crack.
The India antitrust complaint against Google has been brought to the attention of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), and an investigation has been launched. According to Indian law, a withdrawal of a complaint cannot be made once it has been presented before the CCI. Therefore, the only way out for Google is a good defense strategy that will see the company acquitted.
According to competition regulations in India, an entity found in violation of normal competition practices may see the CCI impose a hefty fine of 10% of the company’s three year annual average turnover. In the case of Google this would translate to a $5 billion fine if the ruling is in favor of India.
India’s fair trade watchdog, the CCI is a powerful entity that has been tasked with the mandate of prohibiting unfair competitive mergers, abuse of dominant companies, and anticompetitive contracts and agreements. Therefore, CCI may order structural changes be made by Google should they rule in favor of the accuser.
On one side, we have India, which claims to have strong evidence against Google. On the other hand, Google is quite confident owing to the review that was conducted by the Federal Trade Commission of US, which concluded that the company’s services were good for competition. Google through its spokesman says that it is extending full cooperation to CCI. With CCI’s investigations still ongoing all we can do for now is wait to see how this case plays out.