The Google logo displayed on a smartphone next to a shopping cart.
Rafael Enrique SOPA images LightRocket via Getty Images
Swedish price comparison website is suing Google for 2.1 billion euros ($ 2.4 billion) for allegedly manipulating search results in favor of its own competitive shopping service.
PriceRunner said Monday it plans to take Google to court in Stockholm. He is seeking damages in connection with the European Commission’s 2017 ruling that Google violated antitrust laws by favoring its own shopping comparison product, Google Shopping, through its popular search engine.
After seven years of investigating the practices, the EU executive imposed a historic $ 2.7 billion fine on Google. Google appealed the penalty, but in November 2021 the decision was upheld by the EU General Court. The sentence can still be appealed to the EU’s highest court.
PriceRunner CEO Michael Lindal said the company had launched a lawsuit after “extensive and thorough preparation”.
“Of course, we are seeking compensation for the damage that Google has caused us over the years, but we also see this claim as a battle for consumers who have suffered greatly from Google’s infringement of competition law in recent years. fourteen years and still today, “Lindal said in a statement.
“It’s also a matter of survival for many European entrepreneurial companies and job opportunities in technology.”
A Google spokesman said the company was looking forward to defending its case in court. The company made a number of changes in 2017 aimed at addressing the commission’s concerns.
“The changes we made to shopping ads in 2017 have worked successfully, generating growth and jobs for hundreds of comparative shopping services that operate more than 800 websites across Europe,” the spokesman said in an email statement.
“The system is subject to intensive monitoring by the European Commission and two groups of external experts. PriceRunner chose not to use Google shopping ads, so it may not have been as successful as the others. “
PriceRunner claims that Google has not complied with the commission’s decision and is still abusing its dominant position among search engines. The final damage is expected to be “significantly higher” than the € 2.1 billion subtotal.
The company, which in November agreed to be taken over by Swedish fintech firm Klarna, wants Google to pay compensation for profits it has lost in the United Kingdom since 2008 and in Sweden and Denmark from 2013 onwards.
Klarna spokesman Aoife Hooligan said the company was “aware of and supports the lawsuit”.
“Basically, all technology companies, no matter where they operate, compete on their own merits with the best products and services and then gain the trust of consumers,” Hooligan told CNBC.
“European consumers have been deprived of real choices when shopping for many years, and this is one step towards ensuring that this is over now.”
PriceRunner says it is the largest independent price comparison service in the Nordic region, with more than 3.7 million products to choose from 22,500 stores in 25 different countries.
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