Info-tech

How 3 young researchers set the antitrust watchdog against Google in India

Reuters New Delhi | Updated on July 08, 2019 Published on July 08, 2019

Two junior Indian antitrust research associates and a law school student were behind a complaint that sparked a probe into Google’s alleged anti-competitive practices in the country.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered a full-blown investigation into Alphabet Inc’s Google in April for alleged abuse of its Android platform to hurt rivals, but the complainants’ names came to light only when the order was made public last week.

The case was filed by Umar Javeed and Sukarma Thapar, who work as research associates at the CCI, and Umar’s brother Aaqib, a law school student who interned with the CCI briefly in 2018, their LinkedIn profiles showed. Though it’s unusual for CCI researchers to file cases with the watchdog, antitrust lawyers said there is nothing wrong with it.

“They deserve appreciation, they have done a commendable job,” SL Bunker, a former senior member of the CCI, said on Monday. “The developments will be watched eagerly as the case involves many intricacies and its implications will be world over.”

In the antitrust case, the three informants relied on the European Commission’s order from last year in which Google was fined $5 billion for forcing manufacturers to pre-install its apps on Android devices. Their complaint is against both Google LLC and its India unit.

The CCI’s preliminary finding was that Google appeared to be dominant on the basis of the material brought forward by the informants, identified in the order as Android users.

Published on July 08, 2019
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