back to article Google facing $5 BEEELLION antitrust fine in India

Google may be in the midst of securing a deal on its long-running search dispute with the European Union, but it’s still facing a possible $US5bn (£3bn) fine from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over allegations it has abused its market leading position in the internet search space. Local laws state that the CCI can …

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  1. DougS Silver badge

    This "annual turnover" business is really stupid

    How about using the annual turnover in India rather than worldwide? I can just see some tiny country like Toga trying to sue a big company and take 10% - it would fund their budget and leave their citizens tax free for the next 500 years!

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: This "annual turnover" business is really stupid

      Toga sounds really tiny (bedsheet sized?) But if some microstate wanted to extract billions from a megacorp, they'd be faced with the problem of how to collect it. Seizing their assets in your tiny country wouldn't work very well.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: This "annual turnover" business is really stupid

      "How about using the annual turnover in India rather than worldwide?"

      Because we know that companie lie and cheat about where the business is, so we cannot trust their turnover figures. Can't have it both ways, megacorp.

      1. Chris Miller

        @DavCrav

        I think you may be confusing 'profit' and 'turnover'. It's quite difficult to massage turnover figures (although if you're selling to customers in country A using a web server in country B to buy goods made in country C, things can certainly get complicated), whereas 'profit' (for a multinational) is pretty much what some clever beancounter chooses to make it (i.e. that value which minimises tax liabilities). That's why it's more sensible to tax businesses on turnover rather than profit.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: @DavCrav

          "I think you may be confusing 'profit' and 'turnover'. It's quite difficult to massage turnover figures"

          I wasn't, but Google somehow manages to have very little turnover in the UK despite clearly selling here. Since this is a story about Google, I doubt I'd trust their turnover figures either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This "annual turnover" business is really stupid

      So finally The Borg might be getting a much deserved spanking!

    4. mi1400

      Re: This "annual turnover" business is really stupid

      Yes!... this slumps dwelling india nation has a psychological desease of jest getting into news without delivering on the words... there 10$ laptop... Moon "Landing" ..... and biggect "democracy" LOL .... are just legacy of this legacy ...

  2. Pete 2

    That's the way to do it!

    If you're going to use fines as punishment (leaving aside the "who ultimately pays" issues, this is a good strategy for foreign companies) then fine them BIG TIME. The americans fined BP over £10 Bn for the gulf oil spill and that is the level that seems necessary to be taken seriously - as well as being a nice little earner for the folks back home.

    If foreign companies are so willing to take the pi mickey about paying taxes in the UK, then I see nothing wrong with using punitive financial measures against them. It sure beats extracting taxes from citizens.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Breaking Google Up!

    "The CCI also has the power to order a company found to be too dominant to be broken down into smaller businesses."

    If this means that the CCI could order Google's world-wide operations to be broken up, then I foresee some interesting times ahead (i.e. when the US gov launches some serious trade sanctions against India on behalf of Google).

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: Breaking Google Up!

      India couldn't order this in effect because ultimately it would be worth while for Google just to shut its India office and then just ignore the order. After all, their website would still be available for them to sell advertising revenue to the people of India through anyway. Sometimes websites are just too big to block for a democratic government.

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Breaking Google Up!

        So basically, you're saying that Google now has more power that the governments of entire countries?

        An unelected, profit-focused organisation that is based on the premise of mining as much information about everything and everyone can wield more power that the body of people (democratically elected or otherwise) that make the laws which determine society works?

        How the hell is anyone not scared by this? Compared to this, the browser wars thing was nothing more than a storm in a teacup!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Breaking Google Up!

          People aren't scared by this, because people have resigned themselves to corporate leadership.

          Or possibly when Google defy the Indian government you'll see Indians boycotting Google and sympathy spreading around, so even if they get around it legally.

          Whether people like companies or not, they tend to not be too pleased with them taking the piss out of their government... Well Americans being a possible exception, since they're so convinced their government is out to get them (which as we've seen probably isn't too far off)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Breaking Google Up!

          "So basically, you're saying that Google now has more power that the governments of entire countries?"

          Of course. Countries with limited democratic values like the USA have been governed that way for decades. Special Interest groups (mostly large corporates) fund and support their preferred candidates. The voters might think they have a choice - but in reality it's between pre-ordained candidates from the party of the far right wing, or the party of the extreme far right wing....

        3. bigtimehustler

          Re: Breaking Google Up!

          Well, the big problem is actually lack of global governance. Companies operate at a global level and countries operate at a country level. This makes it practically impossible for all but the biggest countries to have their say on how any global web business that doesn't require a physical footprint in the country operates. How can they? How can they possibly stop the country just moving all physical assets out of the country and ignoring them? At present in a world governed by many separate governments, it is not possible to do anything about this.

        4. busycoder99

          Re: Breaking Google Up!

          Relativity my friend. People are more scared of the government.

  4. Robert Grant

    One big company is good for tax

    But bad for company turnover-based fines. If this starts to happen more, perhaps we'll see them return to having local tax bases.

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