Business practices regulator Competition Commission has imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on internet giant Google saying that the firm indulged in unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search. After a detailed probe on the complaints filed in 2012, the regulator said the penalty is being imposed on Google for “infringing anti-trust conduct”. 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,” according to a PTI report.
Notably, this is one of the rare cases where Google has been penalised for unfair business practices globally, even though it has been under probe in several countries. In previous cases 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.
The penalty amounting to 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. The regulator said that it has given thoughtful consideration on the submissions made by Google on issue of penalty and found it appropriate to impose a fine.
“The Competition Commission of India 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 steps,” PTI reported a Google spokesperson as saying.
“The Commission is cognizant of the fact that any intervention in technology markets has to be carefully crafted lest it stifles innovation and denies consumers the benefits that such innovation can offer. This can have a detrimental effect on economic welfare and economic growth, particularly in countries relying on high growth such as India,” the CCI order said.
The ruling has come on complaints filed by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) — back in 2012 — against Google LLC, Google India and Google Ireland, said the news agency. “While the majority order is by chairperson D K Sikri and three members, two members have issued a dissent order saying that they don’t find Google in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act. This section pertains to abuse of dominant position,” the PTI report said.