Google accuses manipulating search results, PriceRunner sues company for $ 2.4 billion


Swedish price comparison firm PriceRunner has filed a lawsuit against Google on Monday in Stockholm’s patent market court seeking preliminary compensation of € 2.1 billion ($ 2.4 billion), saying that Google is in favor of its service. Announced that it was blamed.

February 7 Press releasePriceRunner quoted the decision of the European Court of First Instance that Alphabet-owned Google violated EU antitrust law by manipulating search results that helped comparative shopping solutions. As a result, Google robbed comparative shopping services like PriceRunner of revenue and harmed the interests of European customers who were overpaid while shopping online.

“This is also a matter of survival and employment opportunities in the technology sector of many European entrepreneurs. American high-tech giants act exactly as they want through their position in a market that is nearly equal to monopoly. You can almost certainly expect the fact that many high-tech companies in Europe will be affected far beyond the comparative shopping market if they are allowed to manipulate the market, PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl said in a statement. It is stated in.

Lindahl argued that the proceedings were also a battle for the rights of consumers who were “severely suffering” from Google’s competition law violations over the past 14 years.

In a press release, PriceRunner points out that Google’s search engine has a 90% market share in most European countries, thereby giving tech giants a “monopoly-like” status.

In 2017, the European Commission discovered that the unfair advantage of Google’s comparative shopping service on its search engine has deprived European companies of competing on an equal footing. .. As a result, Google was ordered to pay € 2.4 billion ($ 2.74 billion). The European Union General Court upheld the decision last November.

“The General Court favors its own comparison shopping services on general results pages with more favorable display and placement, while delegating results from competing comparison services on those pages through a ranking algorithm. Google has determined that it has deviated from the competition in the proposal, “the court said.pdf).

PriceRunner accuses Google of failing to comply with the European Commission’s orders. As a result, Internet traffic is diverted from PriceRunner and other comparative shopping services.

The company claims that prices displayed on Google’s comparative shopping services tend to be 12-14% higher than other similar services, according to a study conducted by accounting firm Grant Thornton. increase.

For items such as clothes and shoes, price fluctuations can be up to 37%. As a result, European consumers will pay an additional billions of dollars annually.

The proceedings are aimed at getting Google to pay the profits that PriceRunner has lost in the UK market since 2008 and in the Danish and Swedish markets since 2013. Such damage is calculated to be € 2.1 billion by 2020.

In the proceedings court, Google’s violations are still ongoing, so the damages mentioned in the proceedings will “significantly increase,” PriceRunner said.

Google representatives didn’t reply to your comment request by the press time.

Naveen Athrappully

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Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and global events in The Epoch Times.