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CCI imposes Rs 135.86 crore penalty on Google for search bias

The Competition Commission today imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on internet giant Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search.

After a detailed probe on the complaints filed in 2012, the regulator through a majority order said the penalty is being imposed on Google for “infringing anti-trust conduct”.

Google’s specialised search options that lead to its commercial flight unit, prohibitions imposed under the negotiated search intermediation agreements and ranking of universal results prior to 2010 were found to be violating competition norms.

On the CCI ruling, a Google spokesperson said the company is “reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps”.

Globally, this is one of the rare cases where Google has been penalised for unfair business ways, even as it has been under probe in several countries.

It was alleged that Google is indulging in abuse of dominant position in the market for online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others.

For this case, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) considered markets in India for online general web search services and for online search advertising services as the relevant ones.

The penalty amount of Rs 135.86 crore translates to 5 per cent of the company’s average total revenue generated from India operations from its different business segments for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order.

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