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Posted at: Feb 26, 2018, 12:03 AM; last updated: Feb 26, 2018, 12:03 AM (IST)

No more bullying

Two verdicts, one message — rules are same for both, a brick & mortar company and a cyber giant, says Rajeev Jayaswal
No more bullying
Margrethe Vestager, European Competition Commissioner. AFP

India's anti-trust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently fined Google about $21 million for abusing its dominant position in online search and advertising services in India. About eight months ago, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager had imposed a record $2.7 billion on Google for a similar offence. Although the quantum of fines differed, but the two regulators had one message - dominance is not considered bad per se, but its abuse is.

While delivering the verdict after a prolonged trial, Commissioner Vestager was direct and stern: "What Google has done is illegal under the European Union’s antitrust rules. It has denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice of services and innovation."

Going a step further, the Indian antitrust body found Google lacking in its corporate social responsibility. "Google, being the gateway to the internet for a vast majority of internet users due to its dominance in the online web search market, is under an obligation to discharge its special responsibility," it said in a statement after pronouncing the verdict. 

The Indian regulator was, however, lenient compared to its European counterpart on imposing the fine. It allowed Google to quote a sales figure for its Indian market for imposing a five per cent fine on that revenue. To the "dismay" of the regulator, the company conveniently presented a figure that accounted for only "direct" sales in India. "It is indeed perplexing as to what is meant by direct sales and what is left out by way of indirect sales," the regulator retorted in its 190-page CCI order. 

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