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Kinderstart stopped in its tracks

Judge dismisses anti-trust case

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A US judge has sent Kinderstart back to the drawing board, after dismissing the education website's anti-trust lawsuit against Google.

Judge Jeremy Fogel of the Northern District of California in San Jose dismissed all nine counts of Kinderstart's complaint, all centred on claims of monopolistic practices by the search giant, claiming there was not enough evidence for the case to go to trial, but giving the California-based company time to amend and resubmit its case.

The judge wrote in his decision: "The court concludes that Kinderstart has failed to allege any conduct on the part of Google that significantly threatens or harms competition."

More from Reuters here.

Kinderstart filed its suit in March after Google changed the way it ranked sites on its web search and advertising system. Allegedly, these changes led to 70 per cent drop in traffic to the site in 2005, when its ranking was changed to "zero".

It accused Google of "pervasive monopolistic practices" that denied its free speech rights, destroyed competition, and led to predatory pricing conditions.

But Google argued that its page rankings were opinions and so protected by the US constitution's first amendment, which protects freedom of speech.

Kinderstart attorneys are now seeking other companies who are aggrieved about Google's rankings to join Kinderstart in a class action suit.

They say they will file an amended complaint by 29 September, the next scheduled court date.

More from CNet here. ®

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