It has been held by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on thursday that google has been abusing its dominant position as a search engine to create a search bias in favor of its own services and has imposed a fine of Rs 135.86 crore or 5% of average of total revenue earned by the google from its operations in India through different business segments during the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The CCI in its order has specifically stated that it has been found that Google has been indulged in the search bias practices and such practice followed by the google has caused harm to its competitors as well to its users. CCI further held that google has leveraged its dominance for the online general search in the market to strengthen its position for online syndicate search services in the market. However in regard to the Google’s specialised search design such as AdWords and online distribution agreement no contravention has been found by the panel.
This order of the CCI has concluded the case which was filed by Bharat Matrimony and non-profit body Consumer Unity and Trust Society in 2012. In this case following aspects has been looked into by the anti trust panel -
- Whether google biases its search
- Whether unfair conditions are imposed on advertisers
- Whether competition is restricted through google’s distribution and intermediation agreement
CCI in its order held that commission is well aware of the fact that any intervention in the technology market has to be carefully crafted as it can stifle with innovation and can deny the benefits to the consumer which such innovation can give them. CCI further added that in the country like India which relies on high growth this can have a detrimental effect on economic welfare and economic growth.
The findings of the panel was shared by Google in September 2016 by the CCI and was asked to present its submissions on the findings.
Google spokesperson in a statement said that company is reviewing the narrow concerns which have been identified and pointed out by the Commission. He added that even the CCI has agreed that the on the majority of issues examined by it, google has complied with Indian Competition Laws.
Though Google has been embroiled in several cases around the world but this the second case in which google has been fined for abusing its dominant position in the market. Last year, google was fined with euro 2.4 billion by the European Commission for favouring its shopping service and for demoting offerings by rival players.
The Lawyer who represented the Bharat Matrimony has said that the decision of CCI in the google case is a landmark decision and CCI has been established itself as a trend setter in case of online markets. The investigation report also found that google has abused its dominant position in the market.
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