Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

India Slaps Google With $21M Abuse Of Dominance Fine

India Slaps Google With $21M Abuse Of Dominance Fine

The Indian ruling brings to an end a probe first started by the watchdog in 2012 on complaints filed by matchmaking website Bharat Matrimony and a not-for-profit organisation, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

The regulator 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.

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The company abused its dominant position in web search by influencing search results and directing users to its own services, says India's antitrust watchdog.

This, the CCI said, was in contravention of Section 4 (2)(a)(i) of India's 2002 Competition Act. According to CCI, Google has been found indulging practicing search bias which has allegedly put an impact on competitors and user.

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Given its dominant position throughout various industries, Google is no stranger to antitrust complaints from around the world.

The hefty fee was calculated as five percent of the average annual revenue generated by Google's Indan operations.

Responding to the ruling, a Google spokesman said the tech giant is reviewing the "narrow concerns" posed by the CCI, and that it will assess its next steps.

The commission imposed a penalty of Rs 136 crore on Google for infringing anti-trust conduct and asked the company to deposit the amount within 60 days of receiving the order. "It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. This can have a detrimental effect on economic welfare and economic growth, particularly in countries relying on high growth such as India", the order said.

The investigation looked at other aspects of Google's search business, including its OneBox design-the boxes that call out results from Google's specialized search pages, like images, videos, or news, within the main page of results-advertising service AdWords, and online-distribution agreements. "The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws", he said. Last year, The European Commission imposed a record 2.4 billion euro ($3 billion) fine on the company for favouring its shopping service and demoting rival offerings.

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