Streetmap is taking legal action in the High Court in England against Google for the damage it has incurred as a consequence of Google’s anti competitive practices.
Streetmap is a small UK based tech company and an innovative provider of internet maps. Before Google’s anti competitive conduct, Streetmap was a popular UK business, used by many millions to find accurate and detailed maps.
At the centre of the case is the customer’s right to choose. This choice is distorted by Google’s dominance in internet search, and its practice of promoting its own products. In this case Google promotes Google Maps, and makes those of Google’s competitors, such as Streetmap, harder to find.
The European Commission is currently investigating these issues and is reported to agree that Google is dominant in search and its practice of favouring its in-house services is a breach of competition law. Streetmap is a complainant in the Commission’s proceedings. The High Court case is complimentary with those proceedings.
Kate Sutton Commercial Director of Streetmap said:
“This is about choice and about Google’s refusal to provide end users with a choice or to compete on fair reasonable and non discriminatory terms with smaller competitors.
We have had to take this action in an effort to protect our business and attract attention to those that, like us, have started their own technology businesses, only to find them damaged by Google’s cynical manipulation of search results.”
Background: When introduced Google Maps had little traction in the UK market. Streetmap and others were in widespread use. Through its promotion of Google maps and its practice of making other internet maps harder to find, Google places its maps in front of customers, unfairly embedding its maps in search results, and damaging competition between internet mapping companies.
Many people believe that Google searches produce unbiased results. In reality, as the self promotion and bundling of Google Maps with search demonstrates, Google manipulates the results for its own benefit.
Sidley Austin LLP, is representing Streetmap in its action against Google.