There’s a stirring going on with Google, but this time it’s not from the SERPs; Idealo, the price comparison website, is suing Google in Germany for €500 million damages. The European Union’s competition authority, in an interview with German newspaper F.A.Z, spoke of prohibiting Google from operating it’s own vertical offers.
Idealo, the most successful German price comparison site, has sued Google in the district court of Berlin for around 500 million euros in damages. The lawsuit is based on the EU decision of 2017, in which the EU Commission determined that Google was abusing its dominant position. Google has appealed against this decision. It can be assumed that in the next few years, lawyers will earn well on this topic and, at some point in the future, make a final decision on the case.
In an interview with FAZ, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager put forward various options in order to prevent, from their view, the abuse of power by Internet companies such as Google or Amazon. One option would be to ban Google from operating its own vertical sales on its platform meaning Google would be unlikely to be able to offer services like Shopping or Maps. Another option would be to require Internet corporations to disclose the underlying data to competitors.
Both events show that European business could be more uncomfortable for Google (and Amazon / Facebook) in the future. Even if the ideas of the EU Commission often seem a bit awkward from the perspective of insiders, the idea behind them is understandable; Without an updated framework, there will be no real competition in Europe for the foreseeable future. As SEOs, we can now prepare for the the possibility that the EU Commission becomes another, but rather unfamiliar ranking factor.