India moves forward with Google antitrust probe

The findings of a three-year investigation into whether Google has abused its dominance in India have been forwarded to the search giant and the competition commission.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

An investigation into whether Google has been abusing its dominance of internet search to stifle competition in India is moving into its next phase.

The preliminary findings of the three-year-old probe have been submitted to the Competition Commission of India and to Google.

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

The allegations are similar to other accusations of illegal self-promotion in the US, Europe and other parts of the world.

The search giant has until September 10 to respond to the preliminary findings in India, although that deadline could be extended.

Google says it's confident it will be cleared of wrongdoing.

In April, the European Commission formally charged Google with violating EU competition law by abusing its dominance in search to gain an edge over specialist rivals.

The search giant could face fines of up to $6.4 billion, or approximately 10 percent of its global revenues.

Last week, Google filed a response to the European Commission which said the antitrust claims were incorrect and unfounded.

"We believe that the [European Commission's Statement of Objection's] preliminary conclusions are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics," Google general counsel and SVP Kent Walker wrote in a blog post.

A Microsoft-backed lobby group, Icomp (Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace), claimed last week that Google was in denial.

"Today's blog post from Google is, unfortunately, simply another attempt to divert attention away from the devastating impact their self-preferencing has had on the online market, making many of the same old arguments we have seen before," Icomp said in a blog post.

"If Google truly believes 'in the interest of promoting user choice and open competition', and in the strengths of its arguments, we would urge them to make their case in front of the Commission and complainants at an oral hearing."

With AAP

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