Google fined $21m for search bias
Google has been fined more than $21 million in India for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position, competition regulators said Thursday.
The US internet giant was deemed to have favoured its own services when customers ran searches according to a report from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) six years after it began investigations into the company.
“Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as users,” an order from the CCI said.
“(The Commission) finds it appropriate to impose a penalty on Google at the rate of 5 percent of their average total revenue generated from India operations from different business segments for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015.”
The order said the company had 60 days to pay the fine for “for infringing anti-trust conduct”.
Complaints in India were lodged against Google in 2012, including by online matrimonial site Bharat Matrimony and the nonprofit consumer protection group Consumer Unity and Trust Society.
An unnamed Google spokesperson told the Press Trust of India that the company was reviewing the order.
“The CCI has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws.
“We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next step,” the company official said.
The law firm representing Bharat Matrimony said that the CCI’s order provided welcome closure after a six-year long battle with the internet behemoth.
“The Google decision is a landmark decision,” Naval Satarawala Chopra, a partner at the firm, said in a statement.
“Its (CCI) investigation report finding Google to be dominant and to have abused its dominance preceded that of any authority. Its final order is in line with the order of the European Commission”.