Google has received a $21.1 million antitrust fine in India relating to bias within the tech giant’s search product.
TechCrunch reports that Google has been fined $21.1 million in another antitrust case. The Competition Commission of India sued the tech company for 1.36 billion rupees ($21.1 million dollars) claiming that the company had abused their position in the local search market. “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 competitors were denied access to the online search syndication services market due to such a conduct,” the CCI said in a statement.
The statement continued, “Further, prohibitions imposed under the negotiated search intermediation agreements upon the publishers have been held to be unfair as they restricted the choice of these partners and prevented them from using the search services provided by competing search engines.” The CCI provided an example of Google’s search bias stating that when users searched for flights, they were directed towards Google’s own flight search page, which the CCI believes disadvantages other businesses trying to gain market access. The original complaint brought against Google was filed in 2012 by a local matchmaking website.
A Google spokesperson commented on the issue saying, “We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users. The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws.” The spokesperson continued to say, “We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps.”
Considering Google’s announced revenue in 2017 of $110.8 billion, a $21.1 million fine isn’t going to matter much to the tech giant. But this isn’t the first time that Google has received a fine relating to antitrust issues and these fines can add up. The company was fined a record-breaking $2.72 billion by the European Union’s Competition Commission last summer for bias relating to the Google Shopping search comparison website. Google has since changed how the company displays shopping search results in order to prevent further fines from the EU.