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CCI order will have no impact on Google India’s robust growth: Experts

13-February-2018
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CCI order will have no impact on Google India’s robust growth: Experts

The Competition Council of India’s recent penalty on Google India for ‘search bias’ and abusing its ‘dominant position’ has become a point of debate among brand and marketing experts.

The penalty which amounts to 5 per cent of the average revenue generated by Google India comes to around Rs 137 crore. The tech giant has been directed to deposit it within two months. "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 order said. The ruling follows complaints filed by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in 2012 against Google LLC, Google India Pvt Ltd and Google Ireland Ltd. Media agency experts believe that the CCI order will not have any significant impact on the tech giant given that it has shut down the processes which the commission found objectionable.

According to Tanya Chaudhary, Manager Brand Communications, Madison, “With this news, media professionals around the country will be more vary before using Google in the future. This is definitely a breach of trust and affinity that we enjoy when it comes to a company as big as Google. However, the fine levied by the Commission for infringing antitrust will not affect the company and its business per se as the company’s operation in India is enormous.”

"We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users. The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws. We are reviewing the narrow concerns identified by the Commission and will assess our next steps," said Google in its official statement.

While Google remains unaffected by this development, there are reports that Matrimony.com, which had filed the original complaint against Google, could appeal against the CCI’s ruling as it believes that it will not address the issue of “abuse” of web traffic in a proper manner.

Though all the major brands have refrained to comment on the order, there are some players who claim that the CCI order has resulted in some kind of trust deficit. “This development has resulted in certain trust deficit with Google. Moving forward we would evaluate other options to reduce dependency on search engine”, said Sushil Matey, Director Marketing, Livpure.

It is important to mention that the CCI order has favored the tech giant on nine out of almost twelve counts. However the order has once again brought to focus the need for a more robust regulatory framework which a data economy merits--a debate which is likely to rage on.

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