Nordic price comparison firm PriceRunner is hauling Google to Sweden’s patent and market court seeking $2.4 billion in damages for violating antitrust laws by manipulating search.
PriceRunner alleges that the company lost profits due to the Alphabet subsidiary’s anti-competitive behavior in the U.K. since 2008 in Sweden and 2013 in Denmark.
The PriceRunner lawsuit follows a recent ruling by the European General Court that concluded Google violated antitrust laws by manipulating search results in favor of its own comparison-shopping services.
Mikael Lindahl, CEO of PriceRunner, said in a press release on Monday (Feb. 7) the company wants compensation for damages, but the lawsuit is also “a fight for consumers who have suffered tremendously” because of Google’s violation of competition law for 14 years.
“Since the violation is still ongoing, the amount of damages increases every day — we expect the final damages amount of the lawsuit to be significantly higher,” he added.
Google’s search engine controls more than 90 percent of the market share in most countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), Lindahl said, and this lawsuit is also a “matter of survival” for European startups 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,” Lindahl said.
After an investigation by the European Commission for close to eight years, the General Court ruled in 2017 that Google had violated European competition laws by favoring its own search engine and sending shoppers to its own comparison shopping service Google Shopping.
The court also concluded that Google had deprived other comparison shopping firms competition on equal terms and denied consumers the advantage of market competition. Google was hit with a record fine of €2.4 billion and lost its appeal by the court in November 2021.
PriceRunner said that Google has not complied with the court’s ruling and is still abusing its dominant position. Google’s comparison shopping results are 12-14 percent higher than other services, with clothes and shoe prices being 16-37 percent higher, according to data from Grant Thornton, an accountancy firm, per the press release.