Google fined by India watchdog for 'unfair business practices'

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India's antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) [official website] on Thursday imposed [order, PDF] a Dollars $21.17 million fine (1.36 billion rupees) on Google for "search bias" and abuse of its dominant position.

The ruling was prompted by a complaint filed in 2012 by Indian matchmaking website, Bharat Matrimony, and Consumer Unity and Trust Society, a consumer protection group.

According to the complaints, Google manipulated search results to promote its own and partner services.

A Google spokesperson called the CCI's concerns "narrow" in a statement. The Mountain View tech giant recently had a run-in with the European Commission over alleged shopping search results manipulation, and now faces a fine from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for giving its commercial flight search function preferential treatment in Google Search. The Commission also led a review of the company's others services, including search design, online distribution agreements, and AdWords, but found no other violations.

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The fine is five percent of the revenue generated by the company's Indian operations, with Google needing to deposit the fee within 60 days of today's rulings.

In a release, the CCI said that Google through its search design has not only placed its commercial flight unit at a prominent position on SERP, it has also allocated disproportionate real estate thereof to such units to the disadvantage of verticals trying to gain market access. This section pertains to abuse of dominant position.

We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users.

An unnamed Google spokesperson told the Press Trust of India that the company was reviewing the order. The body stated that this could have a negative effect on the economic welfare and economic growth, especially in countries relying on high growth such as India. Further, the CCI said it has examined the issues within the permissible parameters in technology markets.

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