(Updated with context, statements from PriceRunner and Google)
STOCKHOLM, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Swedish price comparator PriceRunner said on Monday it was suing Alphabet Group-owned Google for around 2.1 billion euros, accusing the internet giant of anti-competitive practices by manipulating results research in favor of its own comparison services.
PriceRunner said its lawsuit in Stockholm seeks compensation from Google for the loss of revenue it has suffered since 2008 in the UK market and since 2013 in Sweden and Denmark.
Last November, Google lost an appeal against a 2.42 billion euro fine imposed in 2017 by the European Commission. The EU executive had found that Google’s use of its comparison shopping service gave it an unfair advantage over its smaller European rivals.
“They continue to abuse the market to a very large extent and have fundamentally changed nothing,” PriceRunner chief executive Mikael Lindahl said in an interview with Reuters.
PriceRunner, which was acquired in November by Swedish online payments company Klarna, is ready to engage in a long legal battle, the leader added, assuring that the group has secured external financing and put in place measures in the event of an unsuccessful procedure.
A Google spokesperson said the company plans to defend itself in court.
“The changes we made to ads in 2017 are working successfully PriceRunner chose not to use Google ads, so may not have had the same success as others,” the spokesperson said. Google.
The fine imposed by the European Commission in 2017 was the result of a seven-year investigation sparked by dozens of complaints that Google was distorting internet search results to favor its shopping service, thereby harming competitors and to consumers.
The European Commission had found that Google consistently prioritized its own comparison shopping service and demoted competing comparison shopping services in its search results.
In 2019, the comparison site Idealo, owned by the German group Axel Springer, sued Google for 500 million euros. (Report Supantha Mukherjee, French version Laetitia Volga and Khadija Adda-Rezig, edited by Blandine Hénault)