Google told to deposit 10% of Rs137 crore CCI penalty
Google says NCLAT has accepted its appeal for review of aspects of the CCI decision and its associated findings
New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Friday asked Google Inc to deposit 10% of the Rs136.86 crore penalty imposed on it by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for “infringing antitrust conduct”, while admitting the company’s appeal against the antitrust regulator’s 7 February order.
A bench headed by S.J. Mukhopadhyay further directed Google to keep displaying, as per the CCI order, a disclaimer in its Commercial Flight Unit box indicating clearly that the “search flights” link placed at the bottom leads to Google’s Flights page, and not the results aggregated by any other third-party service provider, so that users are not misled.
“NCLAT has accepted our appeal for review of aspects of the CCI decision and its associated findings,” a Google spokesperson said.
The CCI had found Google guilty of abusing of its dominant position in “Online General Web Search and Web Search Advertising Services” markets in India through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation.
The competition watchdog had noted that the prominent display and placement of Google’s Commercial Flight Unit with links to Google’s specialized search options/services (Flight) amounted to an unfair imposition upon users of search services as it deprives them of additional choices.
CCI had initiated proceedings against Google Inc., Google India and others on complaints filed by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) in 2012.
It was alleged that in order to promote certain search sites with which Google had a “vertical” business arrangement, Google started mixing many of these “vertical”results into organic results. Therefore, when a user searched, for example, the name of a song on Google, they received links to videos of that song from Google Video or YouTube, both of which are properties owned by Google.
The penalty of Rs135.86 crore translates into 5% of the firm’s average total revenue generated from its India operations for financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order.
The matter will be next heard on 28 May.
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