India's antitrust probe into Google moves into next phase

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2015 21:22 IST

Indian anti-trust watchdog CCI's investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices of Google, accused of abusing its market dominance in ranking its Internet search results, is moving into its next phase.

The preliminary findings of the three-year-old probe have been submitted to the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The inquiry revolved around complaints filed by several websites which contended that Google has been unfairly highlighting its own services in its influential search results at the expense of its rivals.

The probe report of CCI’s investigative arm is believed to have found Google in violation of certain competition regulations. But a final decision will be taken by CCI after hearing Google and other parties in the case, including the complainants.

This marks the first case globally where an antitrust body is formally raising such charges against Google.

While there was no official word on the content of the probe report, Google said it is reviewing the report from CCI’s ongoing investigation. According to the norms, the Director General’s report is not binding on the CCI and a final decision in this long-running case will be made by the seven-member commission headed by chairman Ashok Chawla.

According to a report in the Economic Times, Flipkart, Facebook, Nokia's maps division, and several other companies have corroborated complaints that Google allegedly abused its dominant market position in their response to queries by the CCI.

Based on responses from 30 businesses spanning search, social networks, ecommerce, travel and content sites, the CCI Director General last week filed a report that reportedly accuses Google of abusing its dominant position to rig search outcomes, both actual search results and sponsored links.

The initial complaints were filed by Bharat Matrimony and a Jaipur-based not-for-profit, Consumer Unity and Trust Society. Microsoft has made an extensive submission on Google's alleged abuse of power, according to the report seen by the Economic Times. Others who responded to CCI include, Hungama Digital and GroupM.

(With inputs from agencies)

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