Google on Tuesday said it has filed an appeal against a judgment by fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) that fined the tech giant Rs 136.86 crore for abuse of its dominance and biased search practices in India. "We disagree with aspects of the CCI's decision, so we have filed an appeal and sought a stay on those findings," a Google spokesperson told IANS. Google has filed the appeal with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
The CCI verdict in February came in response to complaints filed by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), a consumer organisation, in 2012. The competition watchdog said the penalty was being imposed on Google for "infringing anti-trust conduct". The CCI said it imposed the fine after taking into account Google's revenue from its India operations only.
The CCI found Google abusing its dominance in three ways -- first, placement of "Universal Results" before 2010 were pre-determined by Google and not based on relevance, which was unfair to the users. It said that the prominent display and placement of commercial Flight Unit with link to Google's specialised Flight search service was unfair imposition and deprived users of additional choices.
Google Flights offers travellers the ability to quickly explore destinations and find the best flights at affordable prices. The Flights Unit offers information about flights on Google's general Search results pages.
Thirdly, the CCI said that the prohibitions imposed on publishers under the negotiated search intermediation agreements were found to be unfair for restricting their choice of partners. The CCI had also observed in its order that 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.
Reacting to this, a Google spokesperson had said: "We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users. The CCI 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".