An Old Antitrust Case is Coming Back to Bite Google
Photo Credit: Mountain View, California, USA - April 6, 2011: Search engine giant Google's sprawling campus in Mountain View started in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin as a research project at Stanford.

An Old Antitrust Case is Coming Back to Bite Google

Back in 2017, the European Union hit Google with a $2.7 billion antitrust violation for prioritizing itself over rivals in search results. Now, that decision is being invoked by Idealo — a German-based price comparison service — as the company sues Google over its abuse of power, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

On Friday, the company filed its suit in a Berlin court alleging that Google made it difficult for its search engine users to find links to Idealo, as reported by the WSJ. Idealo claims that this happened because Google started its own price comparison service, Google Shopping.

By invoking the 2017 case, Idealo can make the argument that Google hasn’t changed its practices, despite being hit with fines. Within that case, Google was accused of using its search engine to steer users towards its own shopping platform.

According to the Journal, Idealo is requesting about $565 million in damages from Google.

“I’m absolutely convinced that our case will send an important signal to the very many companies that have suffered similar damages,” Thomas Höppner, a lawyer representing Idealo, told the outlet. “We are talking about a lot of money. Many companies are not clearly aware of the potential for claiming back damages they suffered from Google.”

Google has received antitrust fines multiple times from the European Union — even as of last month. The EU fined Google $1.7 billion in March for blocking rival online search advertisers.

Across Europe, countries seem to be showing less patience for antitrust violations. In March, a UK report said that big tech needed antitrust rules because competition among digital platforms is “not only necessary but also possible.”

If Idealo wins this trial, it will definitely make it easier for other companies throughout Europe to take up similar charges against Google. It will be interesting to see if this has any impact on companies in the United States. Although there are concerns around Google and antitrust violations in the U.S., less has been done about it.