Sunday, September 20, 2020

Google faces rigging search results in India

The Indian government has formally accused Google of manipulating its search results to favor its own products. According to a story today in the Economic Times of India, the government took actions after receiving a host of complaints from Google’s competitors, including Facebook, Microsoft, Flipkart, Nokia’s maps division, and MakeMyTrip.com. The charges made by India’s Competition Commission closely mirror the anti-trust charges filed earlier this year by the European Commission.

The Times story said the agency had canvassed 30 businesses that provide a range of services that compete with Google. The case was filed last week, and Google has until Sept. 10 to file a response. If the ruling goes against Google, the company could be forced to pay up to 10 percent of its revenues in penalties.

The charges are the latest regulatory headache for a company that has been trying to argue for years that it is not abusing its dominant position in search across the globe. While U.S. regulators opted not to pursue a case, EC officials filed their formal case after spending years trying to negotiate a settlement with Google.

With Google essentially locked out of the massive Chinese Internet market, it would be a big blow to the company if it is also forced to curtail its activity in India. That country is one of the fastest-growing in terms of smartphone use and Internet adoption, making it a lucrative target for many U.S. tech companies looking for ways to continue growing.

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