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CCI slaps Google with Rs 136.86 crore fine for 'search bias'

14 February 2018

The Competition Commission of India sued the tech company for 1.36 billion rupees ($21.1 million dollars) claiming that the company had abused their position in the local search market.

ET was first to report CCI's probe against Google in August 2015. Thanks to its dominant position in the internet search industry; Google is no stranger to antitrust laws aimed at monopolistic practices.

Google Flights offers travellers the ability to quickly explore destinations and find the best flights at affordable prices.

The commission found Google to have abused its dominant position in online general web search and web search advertising services in India. In one example, the CCI found that the tech giant deliberately placed its commercial flight search function above competitor websites in order to pocket commission payments. Recently the displays of Google's shopping search results have been amended in a bid to avoid more fine, though rivals are still calling for more changes.

With that being said, the regulatory body absolved Google of competition violations in reference to other parts of its business: AdWords, specialized search design (OneBoxes), online intermediation, and distribution agreements, to be precise. "However, our contention is to ensure that Google does not abuse its scale and other advantages to the detriment to the Indian Internet ecosystem and ultimately customers", Janakiraman said. "We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the commission and will assess our next steps". "We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users". But this isn't the first time that Google has received a fine relating to antitrust issues and these fines can add up. "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 written order.

Last year, in June, the European Commission (EC), an EU watchdog, levied a record breaking antitrust fine of $2.7 billion on Google for violations concerning the Google Shopping search comparison service following a multi-year investigation.

CCI slaps Google with Rs 136.86 crore fine for 'search bias'