New Delhi: India’s antitrust watchdog on Thursday imposed a 1.36 billion rupee ($21.17 million) fine on Google for “search bias”, in the latest regulatory setback for the world’s most popular internet search engine.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google, a unit of U.S. firm Alphabet Inc, was abusing its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets.
“Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users,” the CCI said in its order.
The company will need to deposit the fine within 60 days, the commission said.
The order was passed in response to informations filed by Matrimony.com Limited and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in 2012.
“The CCI in its order noted that the allegations against Google in respect of search results essentially centred around design of Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Exhibiting a self-imposed regulatory forbearance from scrutinizing product designs in ascertaining anti-trust violations, CCI noted in its order that product design is an important and integral dimension of competition, undue intervention in designs of SERP can affect legitimate product improvements. CCI further observed in its order 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,” a press release stated.