The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday imposed a penalty of nearly Rs 1.36 billion on internet giant Google for abuse of its dominant position and creating a search bias in favour of its own services. The fine amounts to 5 per cent of the company’s average total revenue generated from India operations for the financial years 2013 to 2015.
It was contented by the informants, Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society, that Google runs its core business of search and advertising in a discriminatory manner, causing harm to advertisers and indirectly to the consumers and creates an uneven playing field by favouring Google’s own services and partners, through manually manipulating its search results to the advantage of its vertical partners.
It was also averred that in order to promote Google’s own vertical search sites, Google started mixing many of its vertical results into its organic search results. Therefore, when a user searches, for example, the name of a song on Google, he receives links to videos of that song from Google Video or YouTube, both of which are properties owned by Google.
The Competition Commission in its detailed order observed that Google enjoys dominant position in Online General Web Search and Web Search Advertising Services markets in India and abused its dominant position.
Consequently, the commission imposed a penalty of Rs 135.86 crore for infringing anti-trust conduct. This penalty was imposed at the rate of 5% of their average total revenue generated from India operations for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2014.
However, CCI also observed that it did not find any contravention with respect to Google’s specialised search design, AdWords and online distribution agreements.
Read the Order Here