Thursday 21 January 2021
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Google doesn’t agree its business practices are unfair, but CCI has a strong case against it

The CCI's majority order came after a detailed probe into the complaints filed against the Internet major in 2012; allegedly, Google is abusing its dominant position in the market for online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation

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Politics India Google doesn't agree its business practices are unfair, but CCI has a...

New Delhi: Google has filed an appeal against the Competition Commission’s ruling which imposed Rs 136 crore fine on the Internet major for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search. In February, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) penalised Google for “infringing anti-trust conduct”.

“We disagree with aspects of the CCI’s decision. So, we have filed an appeal and sought a stay on those findings,” a Google spokesperson said.

Appeals against CCI orders are filed with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

The fair trade watchdog’s majority order came after a detailed probe into the complaints filed against the Internet major in 2012 by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), a consumer organisation. The competition watchdog said Google was being penalised for “infringing anti-trust conduct”. The CCI said it imposed the fine after taking into account Google’s revenue from its India operations only.

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

The CCI found Google abusing its dominance using these methods:

  1. placement of “Universal Results” before 2010 were pre-determined by Google and not based on relevance, which was unfair to the users
  2. the prominent display and placement of commercial Flight Unit with a link to Google’s specialised Flight search service was an unfair imposition; it deprived users of additional choices
  3. the prohibitions imposed on publishers under the negotiated search intermediation agreements were found to be unfair for restricting their choice of partners

“The Commission is cognisant 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 regulator had said in its order.

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