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Competition Commission of India fines Google Rs. One crore


The order was passed on March 27, 2014 DG submitted its report. CCI alleged inter alia non-cooperation by Google in the pending investigations.

In June 2012, CUTS filed a formal complaint against Google’s unethical and anti-competitive business practices with the CCI on June 6, 2012. This was the second formal complaint against Google.

Other cases against Google

  • In February 2012, CCI directed to formally probe against Google in India for its Adwords service when Chennai based Consim Info, that runs Bharatmatrimony.com formally filed a complaint against Google, citing discriminatory trade practices. At that time, CUTS told MediaNama that the information filed by CUTS against Google is for violations of Section 3 and Section 4 of the Indian Competition Act, 2002 that covers acts on Anti-competitive agreements and Abuse of dominant position.
  • Bharatmatrimony in 2009, filed a complaint against Google at the Madras high court for displaying their competitors ads on Google
  • In February 2012, Bharatmatrimony again filed a complaint against Google, citing discriminatory trade practices related to its AdWords program Damages Claimed- Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York[1]
  • In February 2011, CCI reviewed a complaint filed by Eximorp India Pvt Ltd against Google India Pvt Ltd for alleging abuse of the dominant position by Google for its Adwords services.

Eximorp filed complaint against Google

Google’s Business practices are inappropriate and discriminatory in nature. Bidding process introduced by Google to place advertisements on Adwords is non-transparent. Google refused to accept payment via credit card, a discriminatory practice on Geographical location.

On April 25, 2014, a U.S. appeals court will consider Apple Inc’s request to put off a July trial to determine how much the iPad maker must pay in damages to customers in more than two dozen states over e-book price fixing.

Antitrust Settlements with eBay Announced By U.S., State Justice Department [2]

The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) filed suit against eBay, alleging the company entered a per se illegal agreement not to solicit employees of Intuit.

The U.S. and California justice departments on May 01, 2014 announced proposed settlements of a pair of antitrust lawsuits that accused eBay Inc. of entering into an illegal “no poaching” agreement with Intuit Inc.

It was alleged that eBay violated federal and state antitrust laws by agreeing with Intuit between 2006 and 2009 that the two firms would not recruit employees from one another and that eBay would not hire Intuit workers who approached it.

The DOJ brought suit against Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar in 2010, alleging that agreements among the various companies regarding non-solicitation employment practices were per se illegal under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, which prohibits agreements that unreasonably restrain trade. The same investigation led to suits against Lucasfilm [3] and then eBay. [4]


A series of bi-lateral agreements were alleged as follows:

Apple – Adobe Google – Intel

Apple – Google Google – Intuit

Apple – Pixar Lucasfilm – Pixar

eBay – Intuit


The DOJ alleged the core of each agreement was that the companies would not cold call or recruit each other’s employees. The Lucasfilm – Pixar agreement was alleged to go further, providing that one company would notify the other if making an offer to an employee and that the firm making the offer would not counter above its initial offer. The agreements were not all in writing and included “handshake” agreements between executives. The agreements were enforced though oral instructions to recruiters, written policies in hiring manuals, “do not call” lists, and direct communications between executives.

Apple, Google & others settle in anti-trust suit over no-poaching agreements for $324M.

Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel have settled in the long running antitrust lawsuit filed by employees alleging the companies entered into agreements “to not hire employees” from one another , but the class-action suit from employees was settled on April 24, 2014. [5]

Google accused of illegally monopolising search, artificially hiking Android phone prices in lawsuit

Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman filed the lawsuit on May 01, 2014 on behalf of two Android smartphone users who alleged that Google “illegally monopolised” the internet and mobile search market in the US. The complaint argued that Google harms the state of search by forcing smartphone manufacturers using Google’s Android operating system to preload Google’s suite of applications, including Google Search, by way of secret Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADA).

As per the MADAs, makers of Android smartphones are forced to include Google’s applications, including: Search, Gmail, Calendar, You Tube, Google Talk, Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Voice Search, Android Market Client, Contact Sync and Set-up Wizard.

The arrangement between Google and smartphone makers such as Samsung and HTC, says Berman, is tantamount to violating the Sherman Act and a slew of other antitrust laws.

The lawsuit also alleges that, without the MADAs, smartphone makers can subsidize the price of their handsets and drive down costs for consumers.

It also accuses Google of paying Apple “hundreds of millions, if not billions” of dollars to keep Google Search the default search app in Apple devices.

This isn’t the first time Google has been accused of such practices, with Fairshare Europe – a group whose members include Microsoft and Nokia – having attacked Google last year for the same thing.


Reference:

[1] http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/04/25/67358.htm
[2] http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/May/14-at-461.html,
[3] United States v. Lucasfilm Ltd., Case No. 1:10-cv-02220 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 2010).
[4] United States v. eBay, Case No. 12-5869 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2012)
[5] http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/24/us-apple-google-lawsuit-exclusive-idUSBREA3N28Z20140424


REFERENCE FROM THE GOOGLE PLUS NEWS UPDATES

GOOGLE UPDATES

May 20, 2014:

States matter on “relevancy” of Google.

A new competition complaint to the European Commission reasserting or reviving most of the complaints previously leveled against Google. Among them are the following:

Google’s overwhelming dominance have made it quasi-impossible for other companies to compete with Google
Data–whose importance is paramount for digital competition (“the new currency”)–are used illegally by Google to strengthen its position
Google promotes its own services and demotes rivals through unannounced and unjustified algorithmic changes that primarily affect competing website but not its own sites

August 24, 2014:

The convoluted saga of Google News in Germany took another turn when regulators declined to pursue an antitrust claim against the company brought by “VG Media,” a consortium of German publishers including publishing giantAxel Springer.

The German parliament passed an ”ancillary copyright” law in 2013, essentially at the behest of the same group of German publishers. Originally the legislation sought to impose a copyright or “link tax” on Google and other news aggregators for showing German newspaper and magazine content in search results.

A compromise was ultimately negotiated to allow search engines and other news aggregators to display “single words or very small text excerpts” at no cost in their news sites.

This phrase “single words or very small text excerpts” was not and still has not been formally defined, as self-evident as the meaning of “single words” may seem. To shield itself from potential liability Google required German publishersto explicitly “opt-in” to Google News or be excluded from results. As a practical matter, this amounted to a waiver (or partial wavier) of copyright by the publishers for the content excerpts indexed and included in Google News.

This opt-in requirement appears to have been the basis of the antitrust claim that was denied. The publishers argued that they were effectively coerced to opt-in by Google through an abuse of market power.

September 5, 2014:

Google competitors such as Microsoft and Yelp, members of the European Parliament have called for tougher settlement terms. Almunia wants to get the deal done before he leaves office in November. But he’s now being pressured to make significant new changes or leave the matter to his successor

Even if settlement is finalized, Google faces an almost-certain formal investigation of its Android business in Europe —among other investigations that have been hinted at.

September 8, 2014:

Google’s executive chairman has stated what Google’s doing at the “top of the page” when it provides structured information (or ads) that push down publisher results. “[It isn’t] true to say that we are promoting our own products at the expense of the competition. We show the results at the top that answer the user’s queries directly (after all we built Google for users, not websites).”

Both the parties are on their way to seek a compromise but the shock comes from the third parties who has refused to accept the negotiations between the parties. Google has been seen as a utility and undisputed monopoly.


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