Google is the subject of a new multibillion-pound lawsuit in the UK that accuses the tech giant of shutting out competition in mobile search and thereby driving up prices for consumers.
The lawsuit, filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, seeks around £7 billion in damages for British consumers.
It accuses the company of violating competition law by exploiting its dominance in the search engine market to increase the prices advertisers pay for exposure on Google search pages. These higher fees are ultimately passed on to consumers, who are then charged higher prices for the goods and services they purchase.
Additionally, the claim says Google abused its dominance in the sector by linking its search app to other services; For example, smartphone manufacturers must install Search on their devices to access the Google Play app store.
It also points to Google paying Apple to ensure that Google Search is the default search engine on Apple devices as an example of the company abusing its market position.
The lawsuit, filed by consumer advocate Nikki Stopford, argues that almost every consumer in the UK will be affected by Google’s actions due to the company’s importance as an advertising platform.
Almost everyone uses Google as a search engine and often trusts the company to help them find the best products and services at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, Google’s dominance of the search market has actually increased these prices for consumers
The UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has previously expressed concern about Google’s dominance in mobile search advertising and is conducting an ongoing investigation into the company’s alleged anti-competitive behavior in advertising through technology.
According to CMA figures, Google is the default search engine in 94% of the mobile device sector.
“Almost everyone uses Google as a search engine and often trusts the company to help them find the best products and services at reasonable prices,” Ms. Stopford said.
“Unfortunately, Google’s dominance of the search market has actually increased these prices for consumers.
“Despite rulings at the highest levels in Europe and complaints in the US, Google continues to manipulate the search market to charge advertisers more.
“It is a clear breach of competition law for which consumers are paying the price.”
“Google has been repeatedly warned by competition authorities about its behavior but has failed to take meaningful action to stop the abuse.
“This action aims to hold the company accountable for its repeated violations of the law and to get consumers back the money they are owed.”
A Google spokesman said: “This case is speculative and opportunistic – we will argue against it vigorously.” People use Google because it is helpful. We only make money when ads are useful and relevant, as indicated by clicks – at a price determined by a real-time auction.
“Advertising plays a critical role in helping people discover new companies, new causes and new products.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/google-faces-ps7bn-legal-claim-over-anticompetitive-search-engine-practices-b1105382.html Google faces a £7bn lawsuit over anti-competitive search engine practices