Google is being investigated by the Competition Commision of India (CCI) after several major companies accused the search engine giant of rigging its search results. If proven true, the company could be fined 10% of its income, which, in case of Google, could amount to $1.4 billion, as Google posted a net income of $14 billion in 2014.
The CCI is investigating Google due to complaints made by over 30 companies, which include Bharat Matrimony, Flipkart, Facebook, MakeMyTrip, and Nokia’s maps division. The report by CCI accuses Google of displaying its own content as well as services more prominently, as compared to other sources, even though these sources had higher hit rates. It also says that the sponsored links that are displayed in a search result are linked to the amount of advertising money that clients pay. According to Flipkart, search results had a direct correlation to the amount of money it spent on Google’s advertising.
Google needs to submit its response to the CCI by September 10 and then present itself before a seven member commision a week after. The findings come after a three year investigation by the CCI against Google.
This wouldn’t the first time Google has been fined by the CCI. Back in March 2014, the CCI had slapped a fine of Rs. 1 crore on the search giant for not cooperating in an ongoing anti-trust case. Google had expressed its disappointment in the developments and stated, “While we are confident that our products are compliant with Competition laws in India, we continue to cooperate fully with the CCI's extensive and ongoing investigation.”
Previously, it was reported that email correspondence between Google and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) allegedly showed the company allegedly rallying against net neutrality in India.