India probes Google for abusing search dominance; search giant responds on CCI story

Google has detailed its corporate philosophy on its website through 10 points it knows “to be true”. Among these 10 points, at number 6 is “you can make money without doing evil.” Google is big, one among several alphabets, yet the philosophy still holds.

The Competition Commission of India has been probing Google India for abusing its dominance in the search business for three years now. As part of its probe, 30 companies including Flipkart, Facebook, MapMyIndia, MakeMyTrip, and Nokia Here had submitted their responses to the CCI.

According to ZDNet, "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."

Earlier, the European Union had accused Google of similarly stifling competition by altering search results. The European Commission had extended the deadline for replying to the charges to Aug. 31 from July 17, a Google spokesman said. This was the second extension for the company, which had originally been told to respond to the Commission’s charge sheet, or statement of objections, by July 7.

Google has detailed its corporate philosophy on its website through 10 points it knows 'to be true'. Among these 10 points, at number 6 is 'you can make money without doing evil'. This has been rather popular. Google is big, and is one among several alphabets in the new company called Alphabet. Nonetheless, the philosophy still holds true.

However, in stark contrast to this, Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato tweeted out the following a few days ago:

After accusing Google of ambushing Zomato’s search results, Goyal added in a subsequent tweet that a senior Google executive told him that such practices were not within Google guidelines. He added that “a product manager must have gone rogue."

We reached out to Zomato for a response. Deepinder was unavailable for a comment. We also reached out to Flipkart, but they declined to comment.

According to a report in the Economic Times, several companies including Flipkart, Nokia’s Map division, Facebook and MakeMyTrip had written to the Competition Commission of India with “complaints that US Internet giant abused its dominant market position, in their response to queries raised by the Competition Commission of India." The report also listed Hungama Digital, GroupM and MapMyIndia among the other companies to have responded to CCI.

In reply to our queries, a Google spokesperson said, "We’re currently reviewing this report from the CCI’s ongoing investigation. We continue to work closely with the CCI and remain confident that we comply fully with India’s competition laws." It added, "Regulators and courts around the world, including in the U.S., Germany, Taiwan, Egypt and Brazil, have looked into and found no concerns on many of the issues raised in this report."

The spokesperson told Tech2, "In addition to Brazil and Germany, the US Federal Trade Commission, and two state Attorneys-Generals have also investigated and cleared Google’s display and ranking of search results. In fact, following a two-year investigation, the FTC unanimously found that Google’s designs are procompetitive and benefit users. Over 15 courts and authorities, including many across Europe, have reviewed our AdWords policies and enforcement practices and acknowledged that these are intended to safeguard the interests of users and customers."

According to a PTI report, earlier this month, the Commission chairman Ashok Chawla said the Commission would take sometime before a final decision is taken. “The process is fairly lengthy, it is a quasi judicial process. We have to hear the parties involved and then decide. It will take quite sometime,” he had said.

Early last year, the Competition Commission of India had imposed a Rs 1 crore fine on Google. Back then, Google said it was disappointed with the decision. For now, Google has denied any wrongdoing on its part in influencing, rigging or modifying search results, claiming it has been under stringent scrutiny the world over and has been cleared by national courts in several countries.

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