Indian antitrust officials have accused Google Inc. of stifling competitors and favoring companies that advertise with it, opening up the latest front in a worldwide battle over whether the California tech company is abusing its power as a top search engine.
Dating website Bharat Matrimony and the Consumer Unity and Trust Society filed the initial complaints against Google, which led to a formal accusation last week by the Competition Commission of India, the Economic Times of India reported. Microsoft, Facebook, online shopping start-up Flipkart and other companies also criticized Google.
Among the complaints are that Google gave preference to its own services, such as stock-information website Google Finance, over those of competitors and that it demoted search results related to companies that didn’t advertise much on Google.
Nearly all Web searches in India go through Google, with help from the fact that most smartphones in India run on Google’s Android operating system.
Google has until Sept. 10 to respond to the Indian competition authority, the newspaper reported, and faces orders to change business practices and a fine. The European Commission recently brought a similar case against Google, which the company is fighting.
The company is reviewing the Indian case and remains “confident that we comply fully with India’s competition laws,” a spokesperson said in a prepared statement.
Antitrust-regulator decisions are subject to court oversight in Europe and India, likely delaying a verdict in the cases for years.
Chat with me on Twitter @peard33