Google fined ₹1.36bn by Competition Commission of India for search bias

Google had a less than ideal 2017 when it came to legal woes, as it was slapped a record-breaking €2.42bn in fines for ‘abusing market dominance as a search engine’ by the European Union’s antitrust regulators, who are also investigating the company for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online advertising market.

Today, The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the regulator enforcing antitrust and anti-competitive laws in India, has imposed a penalty of ₹135.86 crore (approximately ₹1.36 billion or $21.1 million) on Google, for “abusing its dominant position in online general web search and web search advertising services in India.” The fine amounts to 5% of the company's average total revenue from its India operations.

The order states that Google used its dominant position in search and web advertising to serve biased search results and favor its own services, a practice found to be unfair under the law. According to the press release, the order was passed after investigations were carried out in response to complaints filed by Matrimony.com Limited and Consumer Utility & Trust Society (CUTS) in 2012.

However, as per Naval Chopra, a partner at the law firm that represented Matrimony.com Limited, the fine imposed on Google was surprisingly low. Chopra added that while Google was found to have abused its dominant position, the CCI had not found the company guilty of every allegation.

A Google spokesperson reportedly said that the company was reviewing the "narrow concerns" identified by the Commission, and was assessing its next steps.

Additionally, the press release includes that the CCI did not find any violation from Google with regards to its specialized search design (OneBoxes), AdWords, and online intermediation and distribution agreements.

The Commission has ordered Google to deposit the fine within 60 days.

Source: The Competition Commission of India (PDF), Reuters via Zee News

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