Google India files appeal against antitrust watchdog over 'search bias' verdict

Google India files appeal against antitrust watchdog over 'search bias' verdict

Google the online search behemoth filed an appeal against a judgement from the competition watchdog in India at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal or NCLAT.

The landmark judgement by the CCI in February had found Google guilty of abusing its dominance in online search and web advertising and had levied a fine of Rs 1.36 billion, or 5 per cent of its revenues in India.

Google, the core unit of United States firm Alphabet Inc, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. "We disagree with aspects of the CCI's decision, so we have filed an appeal and sought a stay on those findings", the firm said in a statement.

"Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general Web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services", the CCI said.

Last year, the European Commission imposed a record 2.4 billion euro ($3 billion) fine on the company for favouring its shopping service and demoting rival offerings. Google has appealed against the verdict.

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"Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users", the regulator said in a 190-page order in February.

Later in July 2016, an Indian court issued a notice to Google, its CEO and India head for listing Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the world's top ten criminals in its image search results and registered a criminal case against the company.

The initial probe against Google's anti competitive practices was started by the CCI in 2012 after receiving complaints from Matrimony.com and non-profit Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

In India, watchdog found that Google, via the design of its search, had put its own search functions for commercial flights in a prominent position within the results page from the search, which was a disadvantage to all the businesses attempting to gain an additional piece of the market.

Since Google has appealed the judgement, it could be until sometime in 2018 before the final outcome its determined.

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