Competition Commission of India fines Google for search bias

CCI imposes Rs 135.86 crore penalty on Google for search bias

India's anti-trust watchdog February 8 fined US-based search giant Google (pdf) $1.36 billion rupee ($21 million), or about 5% of the average total revenue from its India operations, for "search bias". The fine is the end result of a probe that began in 2012, spurred by complaints filed by matchmaking service Bharat Matrimony and the non-profit Consumer Unity and Trust Society.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) focused on Google's commercial flight search function.

To view the full article, register now. The complainants added that Google promotes its own services irrespective of whether they are the most popular or relevant sites to the search.

However, the CCI said it did not find any contravention in respect of Google's specialised search design, AdWords and online distribution agreements. According to CCI, Google has been found indulging practicing search bias which has allegedly put an impact on competitors and user.

Google now has 60 days to deposit the fine, the commission said.

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"The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws", a Google spokesperson told Quartz. Previously in June 2017, the European Union had slapped technology giant Google with a record fine of 2.42 billion euros or $2.7 billion for breaching European Union (EU) antitrust rules by abusing the monopoly it enjoys over internet search. "We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the commission and will assess our next steps".

"CCI further observed in its order that Google, being the gateway to the internet for a vast majority of internet users due to its dominance in the online web search market, is under an obligation to discharge its special responsibility", the statement said. "The Commission is cognizant of the fact that any intervention in technology markets has to be carefully crafted lest it stifles innovation and denies consumers the benefits that such innovation can offer..."

"Its (CCI) investigation report finding Google to be dominant and to have abused its dominance preceded that of any authority".

"Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services", the CCI said.

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