Price comparison: idealo sues Google

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Steven L. Ken

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Abuse of dominant position on the market. This is the accusation made by Idealo a Google which materializes with the request filed with the Berlin Court for damages with an amount quantified at around half a billion euros. The finger is pointed towards the dynamics implemented by the search engine in order to promote its service price comparison in ways deemed penalizing for competition.

idealo sues Google

In the press release that came to the editorial office, idealo declares that it reserves the right to increase the amount beyond 500.000.000 € during the procedure, after the information deemed relevant for the continuation has been collected by Google. The company also states that it is ready to face a dispute from the process that will almost certainly last for several years, going through several degrees of judgment.

Direct reference is made to the activity carried out by the Mountain View group, already examined by the European Commission for about a decade, relating to the positioning of the results from the price comparison service managed by Google in the SERPs shown by the Search Engine following the sending of a query by the surfers. The behavior is defined by idealo as “unlawful and anti-competitive” since it ends up by retreating and penalizing competing offers.

Price comparison and antitrust

idealo does not stop there, speaking of "mediocre quality and lack of unique and original content" for the service offered by Google, which despite the alleged shortcomings is at the top of the results pages. We then refer to the 2,42 billion euro fine imposed by theEuropean antitrust which provides for the possibility for competitors to ask for a compensation for damages.

In this way, the company is violating national and European antitrust laws. The European Commission then imposed a record fine of € 2017 billion on Google in 2,42 and found that its competitors can claim damages through national courts.

Below are the words of Philipp Peitsch, co-CEO of idealo, as we received them in the press release that speaks of a ongoing abuse and practices implemented by Google to guarantee itself and its comparison service a disproportionate advantage.

Fair competition on the Internet is only possible if monopolists like Google are not allowed to discriminate against other market players in their favor. With this legal process we want to send a signal that anyone can defend themselves against Google's misbehavior. Google's conduct undermines the variety of service offerings and innovation on the internet and abuses consumer confidence. For us, claiming damages is a necessary and logical intermediate step as part of our commitment to fair competition and diversity in the market, as well as price transparency for consumers.

Idealo was founded in 2000 in Berlin. Today, as well as in Germany, it also operates in Italy, Austria, United Kingdom, France and Spain, collecting and indexing over 145 million offers from 30.000 online stores. The company is among the 14 that last November signed a letter addressed to Margrethe Vestager to denounce Google's failure to comply with the measures imposed in 2017 by the European Commission.

Through the subsidiary company Visual Metamoreover, it takes part as a third intervener against Google's appeal before the Court of the European Union, together with the Federal Republic of Germany, the BEUC (European Office of Consumers' Unions) and numerous companies and business associations that they feel affected. Any statements or comments on the matter by bigG will be published to supplement this article.

Price comparison: idealo sues Google
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