Google withdraws appeal

The Internet company gives in and accepts the collaboration with the Ministry of Health, which has ended due to antitrust violations. The rival provider Burda sees this as a sign for the independent press.

The Google logo on a skyscraper in Paris’s La Défense financial district

Dhe American company Google is withdrawing from the legal dispute over cooperation with the federal government on an online health portal. Google company spokesman Kay Oberbeck announced on Friday at the request of the German Press Agency: “We can confirm that we have withdrawn the appeal.”

In March it became known that Google had appealed against a judgment of the Munich Regional Court to the Munich Higher Regional Court. At the time, the company emphasized that it was still examining whether and which legal measures it wanted to take and that it had therefore taken precautionary steps to gain time.

Cooperation between Google and the Ministry of Health prohibited

The legal dispute is about a cooperation between Google and the Federal Ministry of Health, which the judges temporarily prohibited with their judgment in February. In Google search queries about illnesses or complaints, the results displayed a prominent info box from the portal gesundheit.bund.de, for which the Ministry of Health under Jens Spahn (CDU) is responsible.

Media companies fear disadvantages because they also offer health portals on the Internet. The Hubert Burda Media group had sued the regional court through its subsidiary, the health portal netdoktor.de. The court judged the cooperation as an antitrust violation. The agreement restricts competition. Google then removed the info boxes.

Philipp Welte, board member at Hubert Burda Media, informed the dpa on Friday: “The Munich Regional Court has set an example for the independent press, and it has shown the monopolies clear limits.” The fact that Google accepts the ruling, “we see as one A sign of respect for the freedom of the media as a fundamental value of our democratic society. “