Google Faces Antitrust Investigation in India

GoogleGoogle’s legal woes just keep getting worse. After drawing the ire of American and European regulatory bodies, Google is now in hot water in India. According to WSJ, Competition Commission of India has initiated an antitrust probe into Google’s online advertising practices. Competition Commission is an Indian regulatory body responsible for enforcing The Competition Act (2002). It had earlier sued Apple for following a restrictive distribution model.

The initial target of the probe will be AdWords – Google’s automated service for selling ads that are served by its AdSense network. The instigating factor for the investigation is most probably a complaint by Consim Info Pvt. Ltd., which runs several matrimonial services including Bharatmatrimony, TamilMatrimony, and BengaliMatrimony. Consim believes that Google had engaged in discriminatory and retaliatory practices. It is currently suing Google in Chennai High Court. Earlier, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) had urged Competition Commission to investigate potential anticompetitive conduct of Google in the Indian internet, e-commerce market, online advertising and related markets.

Google is already in some trouble in India. It is currently facing criminal charges for failing to “adequately” censor itself. Back in February, Google also received a foreign exchange violation notice from the ED (Enforcement Directorate) for alleged irregularities in transfer of funds to its foreign entities. So far, Google has declined to officially respond, claiming that it is yet to be officially notified about the investigation.

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