Free Press Journal

Seven notices, inadequate responses led to CCI fine on Google


New Delhi: Google’s failure to provide complete information in response to seven notices send by its investigation arm resulted in fair trade watchdog decision to impose Rs 1 crore penalty on the Internet major.

While deciding to impose the fine, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that Google Inc and Google India Private Ltd failed to comply fully with various notices issues by the Director General (DG) on different occasions.

DG, the investigation arm of the fair trade regulator, is probing alleged anti-competitive practices by Google in the Indian market.

“Despite reminders and opportunities extended by the DG, the opposite parties advanced frivolous and vexatious pleas to delay and avoid compliance.

“It may be noted that the period of failure to comply commenced w.e.f. 26.02.2013 in terms of the first notice of the DG dated 12.02.2013 whereby the opposite parties were directed to comply with the requisitions contained therein before said date,” CCI said in its order made public today.

DG had issued notices on seven occasions last year. They were dated February 12, September 26, October 11, November 13, November 27, December 3 and December 21.

These notices were sent seeking information on various matters related to the investigation, including algorithmic changes, copies of agreements and termination/suspension of certain tech support Adword accounts.

In its response to the show cause notice issued by the CCI on the matter, Google had contended that delays were due to genuine reasons.

“Conceding delays, it was argued that the delays have been few and far between, and have only occurred for genuine reasons relating to the complexity and scale of the information in question.

“It was averred that though Google regrets any inconvenience that this may have caused, Google’s aim was always to provide a full and complete response in a form that would be useful to the DG’s investigation,” the CCI order noted.

The order is dated March 26.