This is a rundown of last week’s news updates on Antitrust:

CCI investigation into Whatsapp faces pushback

The Competition Commission of India’s investigation into Whatsapp’s abuse of dominance in enforcing its new privacy policy that enabled the sharing of user data with business has hit a roadblock in Whatsapp’s belligerence against sharing information on its new privacy policy. Whatsapp has stated that it will withhold providing information on the same until the parliament passes the data privacy law. CCI has however countered stating that the issue does not involve data privacy aspects as the investigation is focused on Whatsapp’s leverage of its market dominance in forcing users to sign up to the new policy. Whatsapp has time till July 21, 2022 in the ongoing case before the Delhi High Court to provide its views on the matter.

New US Act targets digital advertising monopolies

A bipartisan bill introduced by Senate Republicans and Democrats, termed the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act, aims to restore and protect competition in the digital advertising market by targeting manipulations in ad auctions and the levying of monopoly rents by breaking conflicts of interest that permitted leading platforms to engage in the same. While the bill takes action against two classes of companies, those with more than USD 20 billion revenue per year and those with more than USD 5 billion revenue per year, Google has been targeted directly with each of the rules stipulated, the crux of the issue being that Google plays the roles of a supplier, buyer and manager of an exchange, where ad auctions take place. The bill may cause Google to divest its digital advertising business, and Google has responded by stating that breaking up such tools can potentially harm small businesses and publishers, lower ad quality and create new privacy risks.

Karnataka High Court further restrains CCI in case against Google

The Karnataka High Court has extended its prior order that had temporarily restrained the CCI from divulging confidential information of Google to the complainant Alliance of Digital India Foundation till the next date. The case revolves around Google’s measures of having developers utilise the Google Play billing system for their apps on the Play Store and levying a 15-30% service fee on the sale of digital goods.

 

Authored by Rohan Jacob (Associate).


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