Google Found Guilty; Fined Rs 136 Crore For Unfair Business Practices!
The case was filed by a matrimony website, which alleged that their competitors hijacked their keywords and were running ads on Google Adwords.
World’s largest search engine, Google, has been found guilty.
In an investigation which lasted for nearly 6 years, Competition Commission of India, or CCI has ruled that Google has indeed abused its dominant position in search, and indulged in unfair business practices.
A fine of Rs 136 crore has been imposed.
Will Google fight back?
CCI: Google Is Using Unfair Business Practices!
Although Google is under investigation for other anti-trust cases as well, both in India and abroad, this is for the first time that a heavy fine has been imposed on Google in India, for unfair business practices.
This ruling by CCI can have long-term effects on all the other cases as well.
While justifying their ruling, CCI has said that the fine has been imposed for “infringing anti-trust conduct”.
However, CCI has made it clear that they don’t want to interfere or alter Google’s business model.
In their ruling, CCI said,
“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.”
In their reply, Google has acknowledged the ruling and very diplomatically stated that they will make an appropriate reply.
In their statement, Google said,
“The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws. We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps,”
Why A Penalty Of Rs 136 Crore?
The penalty of Rs 135.86 crore amounts to 5% of Google’s revenue in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, when the case was being examined.
In 2014, Google was slapped with a fine of Rs 1 crore for delaying submitting documents pertaining to the investigation.
Earlier, it was rumoured that Google will be penalized Rs 31,000 crore for this case, (if found guilty) which was 10% of their revenues globally. But CCI has narrowed it down to 5% of their Indian revenues, which amounts to Rs 136 crore.
The case was filed by BharatMatrimony.com, which alleged that their competitors like Shaadi.com and JeevanSaathi.com were hijacking their brand keywords and running advertisements on Google Adwords.
Google was accused of not stopping this practice, which caused loss to BharatMatrimony.com.
During their investigation, Director General, of the CCI mainly researched into 3 main aspects of this case:
- Has Google biased their search results?
- Are advertisers forced with unfair rules?
- Does Google stifle competition by imposing unfair rules?
We will keep you updated as we receive more inputs.