CCI rejects allegations of unfair business practices against Google

Google

After facing a penalty of Rs 136 crore from Competition Commission of India (CCI) in February, Google once again found itself in the court of the antitrust watchdog for violating competition norms.

This time, however, the CCI rejected allegations of unfair business practices made against the search engine with respect to its advertising platform.

In a majority order passed by four members, the CCI concluded that there was no violation of competition norms by the search engine. However, Competition Commission of India (CCI) Chairperson D K Sikri passed a dissent note.

The antitrust body gave a decision in reference to complaints filed against Google LLC, Google Ireland Ltd and Google India filed by Vishal Gupta and Albion InfoTel (informants) back in 2014.

They alleged that the search engine was following a non-transparent bidding process in its Adwords programme and suspending their accounts in favour of promoting a rival product of the internet company.

The search engine provides online search services and online advertising business, namely AdWords and AdSense.

The CCI on Thursday said that the company has a right to suspend advertising accounts of companies that violate its terms. It added that the search engine firm has demonstrated that it followed a fair, legitimate process using clear, accessible and pro-consumer policies.

However, Chairperson Sikri showed disagreement with the majority and said there is no plausible link between termination of such a large number of AdWord Accounts, including the IPs’ accounts on 22.08.2013 by Google and the beta launch of Helpouts, a newly-launched Google vertical, on 23.08.2013…

This is not the first time when Google has faced such allegations. The company has been battling anti-trust claims in Canada, Russia, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, and Italy. In April last year, it had entered into a voluntary settlement with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service.

In June last year, the European Commission had imposed a whopping $2.7 billion penalty on the company for violating competition law. Google since challenged the case which is under review.

The development was first reported by Mint.

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