They’re two of the biggest tech companies on the planet, so of course, there’s some hefty competition between Google and Facebook. But things may be getting nasty in India, where Google is being accused of gaming search results, and Facebook is testifying against them. With no signs of solidarity on the horizon, a number of high profile tech companies are actually taking the stand against the search engine giant, including Microsoft, Nokia’s map division, and others as well.
According to the Competition Commission of India, Google is rigging both search results and sponsored content in favor of those who spend more money advertising with them, a big no-no under applicable Internet regulations.
The CCI’s complaint marks the first time an antitrust organization has brought charges of this nature against Google, and with 30 or so companies corroborating the Commission’s story, Google seems to be in some seriously hot water. In a statement to The Economic Times, the tech giant said, “We’re currently reviewing this report from the CCI’s ongoing investigation. We continue to work closely with the CCI and remain confident that we comply fully with India’s competition laws. Regulators and courts around the world, including in the US, Germany, Taiwan, Egypt, and Brazil, have looked into and found no concerns on many of the issues raised in this report.”
Google has until September 10 to respond to the charges, and will then have to state their case a week later to a seven=person panel headed by the CCI’s chairman. This will be no open and shut case, though — the Times of India reports that several hearings may take place before any final decisions are made. Should Google be held responsible for their alleged illegal activities, however, the firm may be subject to fines of up to 10 percent of their total income. Combined with charges brought by the EU, this could mean a very expensive payout for Google.
So sit tight, folks. This one’s gonna be a nail biter.