PriceRunner sues Google for $2.4 b for manipulating search

Price comparison firm PriceRunner has sued Alphabet-owned Google for about 2.1 billion euros ($2.40 billion), alleging the search giant manipulated search results, Reuters reported.
Google developers Alphabet reported revenue of $75.32 billion (+32 percent) and operating income of $21.885 billion with 29 percent operating margin for Q4 2021.

Google in November lost an appeal against a 2.42-billion-euro fine it received in 2017 for using its own price comparison shopping service that gave the company an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals.

“Google is abusing the market to a very high extent and hasn’t changed basically anything,” PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl said.

PriceRunner, which is in the process of being bought by fintech Klarna, said a lawsuit it filed in Sweden aims to make Google pay compensation for the profit it has lost in the UK since 2008, as well as in Sweden and Denmark since 2013.

A Google spokesperson said the company would defend the lawsuit in court.

“The changes we made to shopping ads back in 2017 are working successfully… PriceRunner chose not to use shopping ads on Google, so may not have seen the same successes that others have,” the Google spokesperson said.

Lindahl said PriceRunner is prepared to fight for many years, has secured tens of millions of euros in external financing, and has steps in place in the event it does not win.

The European Commission’s 2017 fine was the result of a seven-year investigation triggered by scores of complaints that Google distorted internet search results to favour its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers.

The Commission found that Google had given prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service and demoted rival comparison shopping services in its search results.

Axel Springer’s price comparison shopping service Idealo sued Google in 2019 for 500 million euros.

Investment firm Creades in November agreed to sell PriceRunner to Swedish payments firm Klarna for 1.06 billion Swedish crowns ($124.36 million). The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

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