After Europe, Google Inc , has now been accused of using its market position to distort search results by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), says a report from Business Insider. The Internet firm will have to face a long regulatory battle in case it is found guilty.
Google in trouble in India
The watchdog raised queries, and complaints were made by around 30 businesses including Flipkart, Facebook, Makemytrip, Nokia’s maps division and few other social media, travel and content sites. All these firms spoke against Google and said that it has been abusing its place in the search market.
These complaints were then filed by the CCI accusing the US firm of abusing its dominant position, and rigging the search outcomes, for both the actual search results and the sponsored links. Raising charges formally against Google by an anti-trust body, is the first of its kind globally. CCI also rejected the US firms claims that its search is similar to that of Facebook and Twitter. CCI says others are social networks, and not search engine.
Google Inc , has been given time till September 10, by which it will have to prepare its response. The firm may ask for more time, but since it has been fined last year by CCI for a delay in the information sought, so it seems it does not want to take any chances. Google may face fine up to 10% of its income, says the report.
The report from CCI is being reviewed by Google, and it is confident that is abiding by all the Indian laws.
Google has been held liable by CCI on two counts, first being Google’s proprietary content and second on sponsored links. In the former, Google’s content gets priority in search results despite some other website having a higher hit rate for a specific section.
Google rejects EU charges
Separately, in a similar case against EU, the Internet firm has rejected charges against it. If it does not alter its business practices, then the EU could impose a huge fine on it. The EU accused Google of distorting search results in April. While this practice was beneficial to the firm’s shopping service, it was harmful to the rivals as well as customers.
Last week, Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker rejecting the charges, said, “Economic data spanning more than a decade, an array of documents and statements from complainants all confirm that product search is robustly competitive.”
Walker said Google believes “the statement of objection’s preliminary conclusions are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics.” Walker said strong competition from rivals like Amazon and eBay is not being considered by the EU.
On Friday, Google Inc , shares closed down 1.24% at $659.69. Year to date the stock is up over 23% while in the last one year, they are up over 13%.