India’s Antitrust Verdict Can Cause Irreparable Harm: Google

Google seems concerned about its reputation after an Indian regulator recently fined it $21 million over search bias. The Competition Commission of India in February gave an antitrust ruling against Google for abusing its dominant position in the country to restrict its associates from using other search services, thereby influencing the consumers. The Alphabet-owned company has challenged this verdict stating it will have to redesign its search results page in India from the ground up in order to address the issues raised by the CCI. This was first reported yesterday by Reuters who had an exclusive access to a copy of the plea filed by Google. According to it, the search giant mentioned that the ruling can cause an “irreparable” harm to its business in the country while also severely affecting its market reputation.

Following the verdict by the CCI, Google had reportedly raised only “narrow concerns”, while the plea suggests some serious impacts on its operations in India, the report added. While Google India’s spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, the company is looking to stay the charges until further scrutiny is completed. The report adds that the company law tribunal in India had partially stayed the verdict last month with the condition of Google paying a partial sum from the fine. The technology company has urged in its plea that any of its agreements aren’t violating the Indian competition law and refraining it from entering into such partnerships, while the investigation is ongoing, will severely damage its business in India. The next hearing on this matter is scheduled for May 28.

The CCI had earlier scrutinized multiple internet-based services provided by Google, of which, the company was found guilty only for its search service. Google Search was found promoting its flight search tool in the search results, which was in violation of the local competition law. An Indian website Matrimony.com had also challenged the regulator’s verdict against Google stating “Google has gotten off too lightly”. Apparently, the same website was one of the organizations that had formally complained about Google’s search bias practices back in 2012. While in Europe, Google was hit with an antitrust fine of $2.7 billion last June on similar grounds as the Indian ruling. The company was accused of abusing its controlling market position to promote its shopping comparison service over the competition.

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