Czech search engine Seznam seeks $417million in damages from Google

A Google sign is shown at one of the company’s office complexes in Irvine, California, U.S.

Seznam.cz, the Czech Republic’s leading home-grown web search platform, said on Thursday it had claimed 9.072 billion crowns (an equivalent of $417 million) in damages from Google, alleging that the U.S. giant restricted competition.

Seznam said Google abused a dominant position on the Czech market with licensed operating systems and application stores for smart devices equipped with Android operating system.

“Based on the European Commission’s decision back in 2018 which confirmed that Google was in breach with EU antitrust rules, we claim the compensation of damage that we have suffered while trying to distribute our applications and services via mobile devices with Android operation system,” Seznam deputy chairman Pavel Zima said.

Google has rejected assertions that it unfairly favours its own services. It says that its users are not locked in and that competition is just one click away on the internet.

“Android provides people with unprecedented choice in deciding which applications they install, use and set as default on their devices, and enables millions of app developers around the world to build successful businesses,” Google said.

Seznam said the claim, based on the period between 2011 and 2018, was sent to Google in the past few days with a 30-day deadline and it was prepared to take civil legal action.

With a 25% share of the Czech search market, Seznam said it earned revenue of 4.69 billion crowns in 2019 and cumulative revenue of 32 billion crowns since 2011.

It was reported in November that a group of 165 companies and industry bodies have called on European Union antitrust enforcers to take a tougher line against Google.

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