Google shares ended lower in the US Thursday, as news emerged the internet giant has been hit by a fine by India’s Competition Commission. The CCI has accused Google of abusing its position and generating search results biased towards its own financial benefit.
Google shares closed 4.52% lower at $1,007.71. However, in out of hours trade, the Google stock is around 0.50% in the green.
The CCI investigation was prompted by a complaint in 2012 by an Indian matchmaking company, Bharat Matrimony, along with a local consumer protection group, the Consumer Unity & Trust Society.
The findings of the CCI enquiry are that Google steered flight enquiries to its own flights comparison page – and earned commission by doing so.
In a 190-page report on the investigation, the CCI detailed Google’s abuse.
"Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users," the CCCI said.
"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," the CCI order read.
Google has been hit with a fine of 1.36 billion rupees, or $21.2 million, for its behaviour. The CCI fine equates to 5% of Google’s average annual revenue in India.
Google mainly compliant with India law
While the fine may come as a blow to Google, the size of it pales in comparison with its 2017 Q4 profits of $6.8 billion. It’s also much lower than the $2.7 billion fine served by the European Commission, which found Google’s shopping results were biased towards Google’s own service.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters and the FT.com, a Google statement said that the CCI enquiry had found Google complies with most of its competition laws.
“The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws,” Google said. “We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps.”