India's anti-trust regulator finds Google guilty in 'search bias' investigation

India's anti-trust regulator finds Google guilty in 'search bias' investigation

India's anti-trust regulator finds Google guilty in 'search bias' investigation

"The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found Google to have abused its dominant position in online general web search and web search advertising services in India".

In its order, the CCI said Google "runs its core businesses of search and search advertising in an unfair and discriminatory manner" and creates an "uneven playing field by unduly favouring its own services" over those of competitors.

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"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.

This, the CCI said, was in contravention of Section 4 (2)(a)(i) of India's 2002 Competition Act. Not a first time when Google has been fined in such a case. The complaint was filed in 2012, and after a thorough investigation, the CCI imposed the fine on Google, hold it guilty of abusing its dominant position in the search engine market. "And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation", Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy had then said.

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The penalty amount of Rs 135.86 crore translates to 5 per cent of the company's average total revenue generated from India operations from its different business segments for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order.

However, CCI did not find any contravention in respect of Google's specialised search design (OneBoxes), AdWords, online intermediation and distribution agreements.

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Google will need to deposit the fine within 60 days, the Commission said. "The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws", he said. "We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps", the spokesperson said in a statement. "It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate".

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