Google faces $417 million claim from Czech search engine Seznam

PRAGUE (Reuters) –, the Czech Republic’s leading web search platform, said on Thursday it had sought 9.072 billion crowns ($417 million) in damages from Google, alleging the U.S. giant was restricting the competetion.

FILE PHOTO: A Google sign is pictured on a Google building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. October 20, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Seznam said Google was abusing a dominant position in the Czech market with licensed operating systems and app stores for smart devices running the Android operating system.

A spokeswoman for Google, a unit of Alphabet, said she could not comment because she had not yet received the complaint.

“Based on the European Commission’s 2018 decision confirming that Google breached EU antitrust rules, we are seeking compensation for damages we suffered while trying to distribute our apps and services via devices. phones with the Android operating system,” Seznam Vice President Pavel Zima said.

Google has dismissed claims that it unfairly favors its own services. He says his users aren’t locked in and the competition is just a click away on the internet.

“Android gives users unprecedented choice in deciding which apps they install, use and default to their devices, and empowers 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 he was prepared to file a civil lawsuit.

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

Reuters reported in November that a group of 165 companies and industry bodies had called on European Union antitrust authorities to take a tougher line against Google.

($1 = 21.7690 Czech crowns)

Reporting by Jason Hovet and Michael Kahn; Editing by Kim Coghill and Alexander Smith