Google faces US$1.4 billion fine in India for allegedly rigging search results

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 September, 2015, 9:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 September, 2015, 9:26am

A lengthy investigation into whether Google has been abusing its dominance of internet search to stifle competition in India is moving into its next phase.

The preliminary findings of the three-year-old probe have been submitted to the Competition Commission of India and to Google.

The inquiry revolved around complaints filed by several websites contending that Google has been unfairly highlighting its own services in its influential search results at the expense of its rivals.

The allegations are similar to other accusations of illegal self-promotion in the US, Europe and other parts of the world.

Google has until September 10 to respond to the preliminary findings in India, although that deadline could be extended.

Google says it is confident it will be cleared of wrongdoing in India.

If found guilty, the firm could face a fine of up to 10 per cent of its income; Google posted a net income of more than US$14 billion in 2014.

The Mountain View, California, company is already facing allegations in Europe that it rigged its shopping results to thwart rivals. European regulators are still examining whether Google manipulated other types of search results to keep traffic away from sites that could diminish its advertising sales.

Google has denied the allegations in Europe. If it loses the case in Europe, Google could be fined more the US$6 billion.

Antitrust regulators in the US wrapped up a probe into Google’s practices in 2013 without requiring that the company make any major changes to how it ranks websites.