The Competition Commission of India issued an order on Thursday in a case that was opened in 2012 after complaints from marriage service provider Matrimony.com and the Consumer Unity & Trust Society, a consumer advocacy group.
To view the full article, register now. In a press release [text, PDF], the CCI noted that Google, "being the gateway to the internet for a vast majority of internet users due to its dominance in the online web search market, is under an obligation to discharge its special responsibility". For example recently Google started to allow users to book their flights and hotels simultaneously through the search results, thus bypassing the need to go to another website.
A Google spokesperson told Reuters that they are reviewing CCI's "concerns".More news: Bitcoin extends slide, tumbling greater than 15 %
India's antitrust body has imposed fine of 1.36bn rupees (£15.18m; $21.17m) on Google for indulging in unfair business practices. Further, prohibitions imposed under the negotiated search intermediation agreements upon the publishers have been held to be unfair as they restricted the choice of these partners and prevented them from using the search services provided by competing search engines. The box, which advertisers can pay to be featured in, is usually displayed prominently in Google's search results when a user searches for a flight or airline through the main search engine.
This, the CCI said, was in contravention of Section 4 (2)(a)(i) of India's 2002 Competition Act.
"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". It said through a majority order that the penalty is being imposed on Google for "infringing anti-trust conduct". "This can have a detrimental effect on economic welfare and economic growth, particularly in countries relying on high growth such as India", the order said.