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Google sued for €2.1 billion in Sweden

February 8, 2022

Swedish price comparison firm PriceRunner accused Google of "abusing the market" by promoting its own shopping comparisons in search results despite a 2017 EU ruling.

Google Logo und EU Flagge
Google argued it has made changes since the EU antitrust ruling against itImage: Metin Aktas/AA/picture alliance

Swedish price comparison firm PriceRunner announced Monday suing Alphabet-owned Google for about €2.1 billion ($2.4 billion) for promoting its own shopping comparisons in search results.

The Swedish tech startup filed its suit with the Patent and Market Court in Stockholm.

In November last year, Google lost an appeal against a €2.4 billion ($2.8 billion) fine in 2017 for squeezing out European rival shopping services on its search engine.

"They are still abusing the market to a very high extent and haven't changed basically anything," PriceRunner Chief Executive Mikael Lindahl told the Reuters news agency.

PriceRunner wants compensation for lost profit

Lindahl said in a written statement it was a matter of survival for European tech companies and their employees.

"If US tech giants are allowed to run free and manipulate markets through their near-monopoly positions, we can expect many tech companies in Europe to suffer far beyond the product and price comparison market," Lindahl added.

"We also see the lawsuit as a fight for consumers, who have suffered great harm from Google's breach of competition law over the past 14 years and which continues to be ongoing here and now," Lindahl said.

Google 'ready' to defend itself in court

Google told the AFP news agency changes had been made after 2017 and that it "is subject to intensive monitoring by the European Commission and two external expert groups."

"PriceRunner chose not to use ads on Google, so it may not have been as successful as others. We are ready to defend our position in court," Frederic Abrard, director of CSS Shopping Ads at Google, said.

The 2017 fine was the first of three antitrust penalties, totaling more than €8 billion, that the EU's executive branch has handed Google in recent years. 

Why Big Tech is under fire around the world

lo/fb (AFP, Reuters)