Google fined Rs 136.86 crore for biased search practices in India by CCI
Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday imposed a penalty of Rs 136.86 crore on Google for abuse of its dominance and biased search practices in India. The fair trade regulator aka CCI via a statement said that they have found the search giant to have abused its dominant position in online general web search and also web search advertising services in the country. In response, a Google spokesperson said that they are looking into the matter. "We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps," the company spokesperson noted.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) passed the order in response to a complaint filed back in the year 2012 by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), the statement issued by the fair play watchdog mentioned. The statement noted that the penalty on Google was basically imposed for "infringing anti-trust conduct".
The CCI order stated that "Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users." The commission further mentioned that the search giant has 2 months or 60 days in hand to deposit the Rs 136.86 crore fine that is imposed on the company.
Meanwhile, in response, a Google spokesperson said, "We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users." The spokesperson further added by saying, "The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws."
The CCI order notes that the penalty amount on Google is nearly around 5 per cent of the company's average total revenue in India for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015. "The commission has given thoughtful consideration on the submissions made by Google and finds it appropriate to impose a penalty at the rate of 5 per cent of their average total revenue generated from India operations from different business segments for the financial year 2013, 2014 and 2015 as provided by Google during its submission," the CCI order noted.
The order released by the fair trade regulator mentioned that the allegations against the search giant basically revolves around the way Google designed its search engine result page (SERP). "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 further mentioned.
CCI also discovered that Google "has provided a further link in such commercial units which leads users to its specialised search result page (Google Flight) resulting in unfair imposition upon the users of general search services as."