Google headquarters in London

PriceRunner sues Google for €2.1bn over ‘anti-competitive’ search tactics

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Google is being sued for €2.1bn (£1.8bn) in a Stockholm court by price-comparison firm PriceRunner for alleged anti-trust practices.

The Swedish firm said that Google’s search results unfairly promote the tech giant’s own shopping-comparison services over those of PriceRunner.

The lawsuit follows a decision by the European General Court that Google breached EU antitrust laws by manipulating search results in favour of its own shopping-comparison services.

In its lawsuit, PriceRunner said it wants Google to pay compensation for the profits that it has lost in the UK since 2008, as well as in Sweden and Denmark since 2013.

It wouldn’t be the first time Google has landed in hot water with EU regulators over antitrust concerns.

Last year, the European Commission announced an investigation into anti-competitive behaviour by the firm, with a focus on whether the company violated competition rules by giving preferential treatment to its online ad tech services.

”After extensive and thorough preparations, we have today sued Google for close to 2.1 billion euros,” said PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl.

“We are of course seeking compensation for the damage Google has caused us during many years, but are also seeing this lawsuit as a fight for consumers who have suffered tremendously from Google’s infringement of the competition law for the past 14 years and still today.

”This is also a matter of survival for many European entrepreneurial companies and job opportunities within tech. If American tech giants, through a market position almost equal to a monopoly, are allowed to do exactly as they please and manipulate markets, we can almost certainly count on the fact that many tech companies in Europe will be affected far beyond the comparison shopping market in focus today.”

Google’s general search engine has a market share of over 90 per cent in most European countries.

Investment firm Creades in November agreed to sell PriceRunner to Swedish payments firm Klarna for 1.06 billion Swedish crowns ($124.36 million).

Last month, France’s data privacy watchdog hit Google with a €150m (£126m) fine for making it difficult for its online users to refuse tracking cookies on its search engine.

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