Daily Management Review

Google Found Abusing Dominant Position In India, Country’s Competition Commission Slaps Fine


02/09/2018




In what is the latest action by a regulatory body against the most popular search engine of the world, a fine of 1.36 billion rupees ($21.17 million) has bene imposed on Google by the antitrust watchdog of India on Thursday allegedly for the company violating and misusing its dominant position in the market and for "search bias".
 
The dominant position enjoyed by Google was beign misused by the company in terms of its online web search aspect and with respect to its online search advertising markets, alleged the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against the core unit of U.S. firm Alphabet Inc.
 
"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 CCI said in a 190-page order.
 
"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," the CCI said.
 
However, with respect to the Google's online distribution agreements, specialized search design and AdWords, no violation of the regulations were detected by the commission.  
 
The "narrow concerns" which have been identified by the Commission is being assessed by the Google and the company would soon make an estimation of its future measures, said a spokesman for the company.
 
"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.
 
For Google, this antitrust fine by the Indian watch dog is its latest in a series of such allegations. Google was accused of demotivating rival offerings in its shopping service search and was slapped a record fine of 2.4 billion euro ($3 billion) by the European Commission last year. The fine is being contested by Google.
 
In India, businesses trying to gain market access in flight search were disadvantaged as Google allegedly accorded a prominent position to its placed its commercial flight search function on the results page through its search design, found the regulatory body of the country.

Complaints of this nature were filed by a not-for-profit organisation, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) and a matchmaking website Bharat Matrimony and an investigation was initiated against the watchdog in 2012. This fine now brings an end to investigation.
 
A fine of 5 percent of the average total revenue that was is generated by Google from its Indian operation was set up as the fine by the antitrust commission for the violation of the antitrust conduct.
 
There was surprise expressed by the by the one of the complainants about the small amount of the fine that was slapped on the U.S. tech giant, said Naval Chopra, a partner at law firm Shardul Amarchand who represented Bharat Matrimony in the case.
 
"Whilst finding Google to have abused its dominant position, the CCI has nonetheless exercised restraint in recognizing the dynamic nature of online markets and not found Google guilty of every allegation," Chopra told the media.
 
(Source:www.cnbc.com)






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