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  (Source: LiveLaw.in)
Google has no chance to avoid fine merely by promising change, unlike in the EU, U.S.

In the U.S., Google Inc. (GOOG) managed to plead its case successfully enough that the antitrust accusations regarding its search engine only led to a small fine.  In Europe, regulators forced it to make changes, but it also appears ready to escape without any major punitive fines given its willingness to cooperate and tweak its more controversial strategies.
 
I. Five BILLION Dollars
 
But the American internet and mobile software giant isn't out of the woods yet.  The world's largest search engine and mobile operating system maker's latest headache comes courtesy of The Competition Commission of India (CCI), a government regulatory body of the southern Asian nation who is examining local and international complaints carefully.

LiveLaw.in
[Image Source: LiveLaw.in]

The CCI says that a local matchmaking service claims it was damaged by Google's anticompetitive tactics.
 
The accusation is similar to that lofted against Google in past cases.  The basic allegation is that Google -- which controls a majority of customer search traffic -- is overriding its own algorithms such that the best services are bumped down in the search results, making them less used and harder to find.  Google in turn is said to give prominent positions to its own in-house offerings, locking customers (to an extent) in its profit loop (unless they want to go out of their way to dig into the pages of other results).
 
Google has come under increasing scrutiny in India after the local Muslim minority has noisily protested against the search engine returning in the search results websites with insulting images of their Prophet Mohammed.  Some have demanded the search engine results be censored.

Google India
[Image Source: GlobalPost]

But the competition question has grown into a far more dangerous issue for Google in the region.
 
The Consumer Unity & Trust Society -- aka, "CUTS International" -- also filed a similar complaint.  While the efforts in Europe were largely steered by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), a major U.S. rival of Google, CUT Int'l is equally critical [see this, for example] to both companies. The UN and other global advocacy groups back it.
 
Indian law allows for very stiff antitrust penalties.  Namely, it allows a maximum fine of 10 percent of a company's 3-year average profit.  Google has brought in $49.3B USD in 3 years, so that indicates a maximum fine of nearly $5B USD.
 
While past settlements and negotiations suggest Google will be able to placate Indian officials, such a fine could set records previously held by the billions in fines by the EU against Microsoft and Intel Corp. (INTC).
 
II. No Chance to Settle
 
India's Matrimony.com, says the case has some unique elements, though, which may make it more costly for Google.  Comments the site's legal counsel Ferida Satarawala:

Google's unfair use of trademarks as well as its retaliatory conduct are not specifically addressed in the European settlement and are distinct theories of harm being pursued by the CCI. Therefore, this settlement is unlikely to address CCI's concerns in our case.

Matrimony.com

The complaint is current being looked into by India's Director General of Foreign Trade (DG).  The DG is seeking input from other third parties (e.g. Microsoft) who might have a bone to pick with Google's tactics, as well.  After that, the CCI will likely look to formally charge Google and pursue a fine.

Interestingly, authorities indicate Google will not be able to settle the complaints by promising to change.  While it will face more fines for continuing offenses, the fines will be decided based on the court's analysis of what Google has already done.  Also interesting is that the court has the power to break Google India up into "Structural Entities", forcing the company to abandon key portions of its Indian business.

Google, for its part, has long seemed resigned that it may be found eventually to have done something wrong.  To that end it's set aside $750M USD in an antitrust settlement buffer, a cash reserve that thus far has remained mostly untapped.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement that they are "extending full co-operation" to the Indian authorities, pointing to past antitrust settlements.

Source: The Financial Times



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By DaveLessnau on 3/10/2014 9:15:12 PM , Rating: 5
First, I own stock in Google, so feel free to ignore my comment as biased. Second, if Google's been bumping search results down in favor of their own products/service *without telling anyone*, that's badness and they should be fined. But, if they state that they do this in their terms of service, well, I can't see a problem with it. But, here's the big thing, all those people protesting and complaining about Google search results and demanding the company should be banned or censored need to take some responsibility for their own lives. If they don't like Google, don't use Google. Just off the top of my head, I can list Bing and DuckDuckGo as viable alternatives in the US. A quick Google <gasp> search for "india search engines" brings up all kinds of alternatives to Google in india. So, why not use them?




By inighthawki on 3/10/2014 10:35:41 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It's not "people" who are complaining. Generally people are overwhelmingly pleased with Google. Obviously this is the case, because other search engines barely get any traffic compared to Google.

Just so you know, logically those two statements have no correlation.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/10/2014 10:39:19 PM , Rating: 1
Explain please.


By inighthawki on 3/10/2014 11:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Allow me to provide a counter example in the form of an auto reference:

quote:
Generally people are overwhelmingly pleased with Tesla . Obviously this is the case, because other auto makers barely get any sales compared to Tesla .


See, the above statement is false. The model S has on average the highest ranking score of any vehicle, yet Ford, as an example, sells way more cars.


By inighthawki on 3/10/2014 11:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
To be clear: I'm not disagreeing with you. I prefer Google's search engine over others. I just want you to realize that your two statements don't actually have any relation.

PS. Also sorry for posting this separately, for some reason DT thought my post was spam because of the way I worded this, which was stupid, so I cut it out and tried to rephrase it a bunch. Appanrelty calling something the 'best search engine' directly is spam or something...


By Wazza1234 on 3/11/2014 6:51:01 AM , Rating: 1
You're absolutely right.

On top of that, even if he was correct that people were pleased overall with Google, even to the point where they think it's the best search engine, that doesn't mean they can't also complain about anti-competitive search results.

So multiple flaws with the logic. Plus the demonstrations which are pictured in this article are clearly carried out by unhappy people.


By NellyFromMA on 3/11/2014 11:13:07 AM , Rating: 3
No, you aren't allowed to have your own opinion when it comes to GOOGLE! If you search with Google, you must ENJOY IT IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY for fear of being apprised of your inferiority for thinking on your own and deciding for yourself what you do and don't enjoy about a particular service and/or vendor.

It's the Android way! The fans are substantially different from Apple's, can't you tell?


By Reclaimer77 on 3/11/2014 7:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
Nice try, I and several others said the same thing about the EU vs. Microsoft nonsense.

This isn't about loyalty to Google, it's about examples of poor Governance and extremist protectionist policies that haven't adapted to the digital age.

But whatever, troll on.


By inighthawki on 3/11/2014 11:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
Actually I made a mistake myself. Just re-read my initial post - I said correlation and that is not what I wanted to say. The absolutely is a correlation in the data, but the two statements are unrelated, to be more simply put. There is no causal relationship between the statements.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/11/2014 4:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see any problem with my "logic". Google is the most used search engine by a massive margin, nobody is forcing people to use it, and if they weren't pleased there are viable alternative they can seek out.

Exactly what is the problem with this train of thought?

Also consider this, the default search engine of Internet Explorer, the default browser for every install of Windows on the planet, uses Bing. And Google is STILL beating Bing by a huge margin. Meaning people are actively changing defaults and seeking Google.

How can you tell me consumer choice isn't king here?

quote:
I just want you to realize that your two statements don't actually have any relation.


And, again, you haven't explained how this is the case.


By inighthawki on 3/12/2014 12:33:01 AM , Rating: 3
You're argument is a logical fallacy. It has no causal relationship. It is what would be known as a false-cause fallacy. A lack of traffic on other 'A' is not evidence supporting 'B' being better. This is why I had to apologize above since I originally stated 'correlation' because I responded too quickly without reading what I wrote.

Google's popularity can be based on a number of differing factors including the quality of the search results, the accessibility of the service, the brand's image (i.e. as a status symbol), favoritism, convenience, familiarity, etc.

This was directly proven using my counter example above. Any argument that has a counter example is not factually correct.

To illustrate my Tesla example a bit more: Tesla is considered one of if not the most high quality consumer vehicle on the market. Assume for the sake of argument that they are at least better quality than a Ford. Tesla is still less popular than Ford for various reasons, namely price, but also the fact that they are less well known, and don't have an existing image in the eyes of the general public.


By atechfan on 3/11/2014 6:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
MS had nothing to do with this suit. Read the article.


By Mitch101 on 3/11/2014 2:21:10 PM , Rating: 1
reclaimer is like that Ancient Alien show.

Ancient Android Theorist Psychopaths believe
"Microsoft and Apple are behind all Googles lawsuits and problems"

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a20/SunShinesfuss...

Everything that is not Pro Google/Android is conspiracy and lies.


By kleinma on 3/10/2014 9:21:49 PM , Rating: 4
If people read the terms of service of everything they used, they would do nothing with their lives but read terms of service.


By Belegost on 3/11/2014 12:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
The issue they have is with Google's monopoly position. Google has long held 80%+ share of the search market (though this past year I've seen signs that they've lost as much as 10%) which generally qualifies them as holding a monopoly position.

As such there are restrictions on their ability to promote secondary products with their monopoly product. This is the same way that Microsoft got slammed over the browser bundling - they held a monopoly in the OS market and used that as leverage to push their browser, and they were called on it with definite consequences.

If Google is using their dominant position in search to push up their own products in their search rankings - then it's an abuse and they should be taken to task for it.


By Solandri on 3/11/2014 1:47:59 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The issue they have is with Google's monopoly position.
[...]
If Google is using their dominant position in search to push up their own products in their search rankings - then it's an abuse and they should be taken to task for it.

quote:
The basic allegation is that Google -- which controls a majority of customer search traffic -- is overriding its own algorithms such that the best services are bumped down in the search results, making them less used and harder to find. Google in turn is said to give prominent positions to its own in-house offerings

quote:
India's Matrimony.com , says the case has some unique elements, though, which may make it more costly for Google.

Google has a matchmaking/dating service?


By Qapa on 3/11/2014 5:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
That was my 1st though as well...

Does google really have a matchmaking site??

Well, I hope they aren't considering "Google+" as the competition... lol


By dimsum888 on 3/11/2014 8:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
the difference in MS anti trust case was most Windows users have no knowledge other internet browser exist because IE came installed with Windows.

In the case with Google, it is very easy to change search engine in any internet browser, the only problem is nobody can match Google.


By Cheesew1z69 on 3/11/2014 11:53:25 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
the difference in MS anti trust case was most Windows users have no knowledge other internet browser exist because IE came installed with Windows.
Bullshit...


By atechfan on 3/11/2014 1:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
Both cases are bullshit.


By inighthawki on 3/12/2014 1:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
Market share does not "qualify" someone as a monopoly. Google is not a monopoly. Microsoft is not a monopoly. Google should be allowed to do whatever it wants with their service, and Microsoft should be able to bundle whatever they want with their OS.


By Wazza1234 on 3/11/2014 6:48:44 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
But, if they state that they do this in their terms of service, well, I can't see a problem with it


So, if they stated in their terms of service, 'I KILL YOU!' - they should be allowed to kill you?

Anti-competitive actions (like murder) are illegal, regardless of whether you explicitly declared your intentions.

You can't get around competition laws with a clause in your T&C.


By Flunk on 3/16/2014 9:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
You can't contravene any laws with TOS. If for example you agree to TOA you cannot sue a theme park if you get injured there and you get injured you can still sue them.

TOS only allow them to withdraw service, not your legal rights. Not only that if they don't have a signature they can't prove you agreed at all. Companies are always trying to control people with TOS but in most cases they don't hold up in court.


By Fireshade on 3/11/2014 12:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
If you take into account that Google's Android holds a 90% smartphone marketshare in India, you will realize that in that market it is not easy to avoid Google search.


LMAO!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 3/10/2014 8:54:25 PM , Rating: 1
Their entire dirty stinking country isn't even worth that much.

Like okay Dr. Evil, why don't you just ask for a catrillionmillion dollars!?




RE: LMAO!!!
By idiot77 on 3/10/2014 9:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
Somebody's job got exported.


RE: LMAO!!!
By ipay on 3/10/2014 10:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, it is a dirty, stinking country. I vividly remember getting off the plane on my first visit; you could almost taste it. And when its not garbage and human waste assaulting you, it's overbearing incense and spices.


RE: LMAO!!!
By atechfan on 3/11/2014 6:12:21 AM , Rating: 1
This, my friend, is why you are so often -1. Because your great Google was attacked, you denigrate an entire country, showing both racism, and ignorance. India has nearly 1 billion people. Well poverty is a serious problem there, only an idiot would think that the per capita wealth is under 5 dollars.


RE: LMAO!!!
By R!TTER on 3/11/2014 7:27:02 AM , Rating: 4
Actually the official figures place it right behind China & well in excess of a billion ~

http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/in...

Oh btw you're right that he's an ignoramous of the highest order!


RE: LMAO!!!
By peterrushkin on 3/11/2014 8:48:01 AM , Rating: 1
Why does everyone keep on jumping to racism?

He's right you know. The country is pretty bad. You know, they would rather spend this money on putting sh!t into space rather than building toilets for the local com,unity and helping to fight diseases that were cured in the western world hundreds of years ago.

Not forgetting, this money will never see the people ever. India is a feudal and corrupt country. With nepotism running rampant.

I sometimes wish to the almighty that I never am reborn an indian, boy that would totally such.

So stop being so ignorant and branding everyone racist just because you disagree. No wait, thats how it is in the US now. Don't agree with the pres? Racist! Shut up Racist!


RE: LMAO!!!
By atechfan on 3/11/2014 1:07:03 PM , Rating: 1
Oh I know that he's not really racist, he just sometimes likes to say shit to piss people off. It's all good, reclaimer and I spar sometimes, just for the hell of it.


RE: LMAO!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 3/11/2014 4:32:25 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
he just sometimes likes to say shit to piss people off.


At least you're smart enough to figure that out lol.

But sorry, there's nothing racists about my statement. Take a look for yourself.

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictures/filthy-ind...

India should be PAYING Google billions of dollars just to associate itself with such horrible living conditions and filth.


RE: LMAO!!!
By inighthawki on 3/12/2014 1:38:44 AM , Rating: 2
Quite possibly one of the more disturbing things I've ever seen. I knew it was pretty filthy there but that just exposes a whole level more. It surprises me that people can survive there...


RE: LMAO!!!
By atechfan on 3/12/2014 3:31:07 PM , Rating: 1
Now I'm the one that is probably going piss people off, but Hinduism is the biggest problem in India. A religion that has a belief that you cannot better yourself, that your shitty living conditions are the result of sins in a past life, and that has a rigidly imposed caste system, is causing untold suffering.


RE: LMAO!!!
By PaFromFL on 3/11/14, Rating: -1
RE: LMAO!!!
By Spinne on 3/11/14, Rating: 0
RE: LMAO!!!
By TSS on 3/11/2014 7:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
Know what the US is worth? -$77,2 trillion (total assets minus total debt + liabilities). If we start counting derivates it's closer to -$300 trillion.

Are you really sure you wanna start that fight?


Diplomat Retribution
By drlumen on 3/11/2014 11:56:12 AM , Rating: 3
Personally, I think India is just making a big deal over this because of the recent legal problems of their "diplomat".

Also, who's to say the sites in question aren't trying to manipulate the search results? And, because of such "optimization", google has knocked them down for it.

Also, maybe they should know that google accepts advertising dollars (or rupees) to have a leading page ranking?

I don't have any dog in this fight but this whole thing stinks.




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