Data Protection |  Nov 13, 2015

Google in Court Dispute over ‘Anticompetitive’ Search Abuse

Google has been sued by Streetmap, which is a UK-based internet mapping company, over alleged conduct that led to ‘dramatic loss of traffic’.

Google has been accused of abusing of its search dominance in order to promote Google Maps over their competitors Streetmap.  Steetmap, which was one of the first online mapping providers, says Google is engaging in “anticompetitive conduct”.

The lawsuit has been taken to the High Court and, it precedes upcoming investigations by the European Union’s antitrust regulator into Google’s dominance of several sectors, such as its shopping services, by unfairly prioritising such service in comparison to its competitors.

Streetmap has argued that the launch of a map which is at the top of Google’s search results and containing a thumbnail map generated only from Google Maps, called the “Maps OneBox”, and subsequently Google Maps for Android, seeks to promote its own maps in a more favourable manner.

A representative of Streetmap has said that the new-style Maps OneBox allowed Google to take advantage of its dominant position in online search, in order to drive traffic to Google Maps in the online mapping market.

Google denied all allegations and stated that the downfall of Streetmap’s business are down to the “merits” of the services it is offering.

Margrethe Vestager, who is Europe’s competition commissioner, has said that Google’s alleged “misuse of a dominant position” is being treated as high priority, and is one of the next stages of the EU’s investigations.

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