India’s antitrust watchdog today imposed a Rs. 136 Crore fine on Google for ‘search bias’ and abuse of its dominant position, in the latest regulatory setback for the world’s most popular internet search engine.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google, the core unit of US firm Alphabet Inc, was abusing its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets.
According to a release from CCI, “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. Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services’.
However, the CCI said it did not find any contravention in respect of Google’s specialised search design, AdWords and online distribution agreements.
A Google spokesman said the company was reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess its next steps. “We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users. The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws,” he said.
The watchdog’s order is the latest antitrust setback for Google. 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. Google has appealed against the order.