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Google’s latest antitrust trial in the US

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the US government has initiated a 10-week trial to investigate whether Google is abusing its dominance in the search engine market to eliminate competition and maintain a monopoly.
    • The trial is considered one of the most consequential trials over tech power in the modern internet era.

More about the news

  • The Department of Justice (DoJ) and 37 states allege that Google makes annual payments of $10 billion to companies like Apple and Mozilla Firefox to secure its position as the default search provider on smartphones and web browsers, thereby stifling competition.
  • Google denies the allegations, stating that it offers a superior product and that its agreements with other companies allow them to promote rivals like Microsoft’s Bing.
  • The trial will test the adaptability of current antitrust laws, particularly the Sherman Act of 1890, to 21st-century markets susceptible to monopolization.
  • The final decision rests with US District Court and could result in an injunction against Google if the DoJ prevails, possibly leading to the tech giant’s breakup.
  • Google has faced antitrust cases in Europe, India, and the US, with fines imposed in some cases.
  • India:
    • In India, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered Google to change its anti-competitive practices in the Android ecosystem and fined it Rs 1,338 crore (approximately $161.95 million).
    • Google appealed the CCI’s decision to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) but was largely unsuccessful, leading to a further appeal to India’s top court.
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
  • CCI is a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • Its primary role is to enforce the Competition Act, 2002.
  • The commission is composed of a chairperson and six members appointed by the Central Government.
  • Key objectives include eliminating practices detrimental to competition, promoting and sustaining competition, safeguarding consumer interests, and ensuring trade freedom in Indian markets.
About National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT)
  • It was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), with effect from 1st June 2016.
  • It is the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT(s) under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).
  • It is the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as per the amendment brought to Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 by Section 172 of the Finance Act, 2017.

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