The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed Rs.136 crore fine on world’s most popular search engine Google for unfair business practices in Indian market for online search. The penalty was imposed on Google for infringing anti-trust conduct.
CCI held that Google was found to be indulged in practices of search bias and by doing so it has caused harm to its competitors as well as to users. It also held that Google was leveraging its dominance in market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in market for online syndicate search service. The penalty amount imposed translates to 5% of company’s average total revenue generated from India operations from its different business segments for financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
CCI passed the penalty order on complaints filed in 2012 by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in 2012. It was alleged that Google is indulging in abuse of dominant position in market for online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others.
CCI’s ruling comes after similar anti-trust setbacks for Google in European Union and Russia. In 2017, in similar case EU’s anti-trust arm had fined Google $2.7 billion for promoting its own products over others. Google also had settled an anti-trust matter in Russia out of court.
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
CCI is quasi-judicial statutory body established under The Competition Act, 2002. It was established in October 2003 and became fully functional in May 2009. It aims to eliminate practices that adversely affect competition in different industries and protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade.
CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government. Its mandate is to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in markets of India.
CCI is also required to give opinion on competition issues on reference received from statutory authority established under any law and undertakes competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.