CCI Launches Another Investigation against Google for Unfair Revenue Sharing
The Competition Commission has ordered a new detailed investigation into Google’s alleged unfair revenue sharing terms for news content.
According to the Competition Commission of India, the case will be combined with two other ongoing matters against the search engine giant in which the allegations are substantially similar.
The order was issued in response to a complaint filed by the News Broadcasters and Digital Association.
CCI ordered an investigation into Google in January of this year after the Digital News Publishers Association filed a complaint. Later, the Indian Newspaper Society filed a similar case, which was merged with the first.
The regulator’s probe arm, the Director General (DG), will now submit a consolidated investigation report, according to an order issued by the watchdog.
The News Broadcasters and Digital Association claimed that its members are forced to provide their news content to Google in order for their weblinks to be prioritised in Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP). As a result, according to the complaint, Google profited from the members’ content without adequately compensating them.
Among others, it was alleged that Google exploited the dependency of the members on the search engine offered by Google for referral-traffic to build services such as Google News, Google Discover and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
The search engine major provides news content to user through Google Search and through news aggregator vertical, Google News.
According to the complaint, users in Google Search can either search for news directly through the News Tab or receive news as a result of a search result in the SERPs. Google incorporated news content into its SERPs via featured snippets such as carousels of ‘Top Stories.’
The revenue distributed by Google to news publishers, on the other hand, does not compensate for the true contribution made by the association’s members to these platforms, it added.
CCI stated in a four-page order dated October 6 and released on Friday that the allegations are substantially similar to those being investigated by the regulator.
The CCI has directed the DG to combine the investigations and submit a consolidated report. CCI refers cases where there is prima facie evidence of a violation of competition norms to its investigation arm DG for a thorough investigation.
Alphabet Inc, Google LLC, Google India Pvt Ltd, Google Ireland Ltd, and Google Asia Pacific Pte Ltd are named in the complaint. Members of the association include national and regional private news and current affairs broadcasters, as well as digital news media companies.