India’s antitrust body orders Google inquiry after news publishers complain

A picture of the Google logo at the entrance to the Google office in London, UK
The Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the Google office in London, UK on January 18, 2019. REUTERS / Hannah McKay

India’s competition regulator on Friday ordered an investigation into Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) Google, followed by News Publishers, stating that its initial opinion was that the tech giant had violated certain no-confidence laws.

In its order, the Competition Commission of India (ICC) said that Google dominates some online search services in the country and may impose unfair conditions on news publishers.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Complainant, Digital News Publishers Association, which includes the digital weapons of some of India’s largest media companies, stated that Google denies its members reasonable advertising revenue.
“In a well-functioning democracy, the essential role played by the media cannot be compromised,” the ICC order said.

“Google seems to be using its dominant position in relevant markets to enter / secure its position in the market for data collection services.

News organizations, which are losing advertising revenue to online aggregators like Google, have for years used stories about tech companies in search results or used other features without pay.

The CCI order also mentioned new rules in France and Australia – due to media lobbying and public pressure – which has led to billions of dollars worth of licensing deals en masse worldwide.

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