Competition law: New billion-dollar lawsuit against Google

Status: 07.02.2022 2:41 p.m

The Swedish price comparison portal PriceRunner is suing Google in Stockholm for billions for violating competition law. The proceedings against the search engine provider are piling up.

The Swedish online price comparison provider PriceRunner has sued the world’s largest search engine group Google for around 2.1 billion euros in a court in Stockholm. The US tech giant violates competition law by favoring search results of its own price comparison offers, PriceRunner claims.

Google has already lost similar proceedings in the past. In November, the court of the European Union confirmed a record fine of 2.4 billion euros for exploiting the dominant position and giving preference to its own price comparison service.

PriceRunner has prepared

“They continue to abuse the market at a very high level and have changed practically nothing,” PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl told Reuters. The lawsuit is being brought so that the Alphabet subsidiary can compensate for the profits that PriceRunner has lost due to Google’s behavior in the UK since 2008 and in Sweden and Denmark since 2013. According to Lindahl, PriceRunner has prepared for a multi-year legal battle and set aside millions of dollars for it.

A Google spokesman announced that the US company would defend itself in court. Google made changes in this area in 2017 that would work.

Under fire worldwide

Investment firm Creades agreed in November to sell PriceRunner to Swedish fintech Klarna for the equivalent of around 100 million euros. The deal is expected to go through in the first quarter. According to a Klarna spokesman, European consumers have been denied real choice when it comes to shopping services for years. The lawsuit is a step to end this.

Google is under fire around the world for violating competition laws. Proceedings are also under way at the Federal Cartel Office. Since 2017, Brussels has imposed several fines on Google. So far, the three EU competition penalties for Google add up to more than eight billion euros.

The US technology group has sufficient funds available for legal fees and fines: In the final quarter of 2021, Google parent company Alphabet increased group-wide sales by a third to $75.3 billion. Net income increased 35 percent to $20.6 billion. It was the fourth record surplus in a row. For the full year 2021, the group generated net income of $76 billion.

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