Google hit with French court case

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Google hit with French court case

French firm brings fresh anti-competitive claims.

Google is facing further court action over alleged anti-competitive practices after a French company filed an action claiming damages of €295 million ($402 million).

1plusV - which ran the ejustice.fr website and described itself as a search engine technology innovator - launched the proceedings in the Commercial Court of Paris, claiming Google has ruined its business by making it hard to find.

The vertical search firm accused Google of anti-competitive practices over four years, which the company claimed prevented it from generating traffic and attracting advertising revenue.

1plusV claimed some of its 40 sites “with significant economic potential” had been "delisted" by Google, meaning they no longer showed up in search results.

It said Google manipulated "natural results" to favour the giant's own search services and disadvantaged rivals by applying quality control criteria that did not apply to Google services.

The court move followed a complaint made by the same company last year.

It also came at a time when Google was facing an EU investigation into anti-competitive practices after complaints by several technology rivals, including Microsoft.

1plusV's claim echoed an earlier case in which search engine Foundem complained to the EU about Google's competitive practices.

"The problems we face are important for electronic commerce and the economy in general and even indirectly to the preservation of democratic values ​​in the internet age," said 1plusV's Bruno Guillard.

"Our initiative, will not benefit only our company, but all the players in this growing sector of vertical search engines."

Google was still assessing the claims, but said it would tell the court it put customers first.

“We have only just received the complaint so we can't comment in detail yet,” a spokesman said.

“We always try to do what's best for our users. It's the key principle that drives our company and we look forward to explaining this."

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing
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