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Google slapped with Rs 136 crore fine for search bias

Binjal Shah
9th Feb 2018
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Competition Commission of India accuses Google of abusing its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets.

The keeper of healthy competition practices, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) India, has slapped a fine of almost Rs 135.86 crore on search engine major Google, for taking advantage of its clout and exhibiting a “search bias”.

Source: Flickr

The organisation is charged with ensuring that the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002, are honoured throughout India, so that the country has healthy competition across the board. It opined that the world's most popular internet search engine, Google, was abusing its power in the web search and online search advertising markets, by “search bias and search manipulation”.

The ruling comes in response to complaints filed by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) - back in 2012 - against Google LLC, Google India Pvt Ltd, and Google Ireland Ltd.

“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 stated in its order. The CCI has ordered Google to deposit the fine within 60 days.

The commission claims that this decision comes after “thoughtful consideration” of submissions made by Google about the fine. The resulting penalty amount amounts to 5 percent of their average revenues from their India operations, for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order.

Google was said to be reviewing the “narrow concerns” identified by the commission and would assess its next steps.

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