Indian antitrust watchdog takes aim at Google - again

Indian antitrust watchdog takes aim at Google - again

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered another investigation into Google following complaints that the firm had violated antitrust laws.

Reuters reports that the Digital News Publishers Association, which represents the digital units of many major Indian media groups, claimed that Google had denied fair advertising revenue to its members, and had withheld data relating to advertising revenue. The CCI previously launched in investigation into the search engine giant's business practices in India in November 2020.

The association alleged that this amounts to an abuse of Google’s power in the news aggregation space and the CCI concurred, stating in its order that Google might have forced Indian news publishers to comply with unfair conditions. Google has thus far not commented on the allegations.

In its order, the CCI stated: “In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role played by news media cannot be undermined. It appears that Google is using its dominant position in the relevant markets to enter/protect its position in the market for news aggregation service."

News companies have long argued that aggregating services such as Google use their material in search results without paying a fee – a practice that siphons their advertising revenue. In its statement, the CCI mentioned new legislation introduced by Australia and France under which aggregators are obliged to sign licensing agreements with local news services if their content is featured.

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