Hot on the heels of a similar accusation in Europe, a number of Indian companies, like Flipkart and Facebook, have now brought Google's dominance of the search market and it's alleged abuse of this position to the Competition Commission of India (CCI). If proven true, this could lead to a fine of over $1.4 billion.
While the issue was initially brought up by Bharat Matrimony, an Indian dating site, others companies - such as Microsoft, Flipkart, MapMyIndia, MakeMyTrip and others, totaling 30 different firms - have also chimed in and supported the claim against Google.
The claim not only alleges that Google favors its own products over competitors' - even when the others are more popular - but also that the sponsored links shown on the search engine are heavily skewed by the amount of money paid to Google. For example, Moneycontrol.com is supposedly more popular in India than Google Finance and, yet, the latter is shown earlier on in the search results. Flipkart even went on to say that the position of its site in search results directly correlates with its advertisement spending.
The company has until September 10 to reply to the allegations. The company has, for its part, argued for its innocence and issued the following statement:
We continue to work closely with the CCI and remain confident that we comply fully with India's competition laws. Regulators and courts around the world, including in the US, Germany, Taiwan, Egypt and Brazil, have looked into and found no concerns on many of the issues raised in this report.
If CCI finds these allegations to be true, the search giant could face a massive fine of over $1.4 billion, approximately 10 percent of its total earnings in the region. This is proving to be the first time that an antitrust body is formally charging Google for anti-competitive practices and might be cause for its European counterpart to follow suit, leading to a further $6.7 billion in possible fines.