Czech search engine Seznam seeks $417 million from Google for competition claims

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

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic’s top web search platform said on Thursday it has claimed 9.072 billion crowns ($416.74 million) in damages from U.S. giant Google, saying it has restricted competition.

Seznam said Google abused its 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 could not be immediately reached for comment.

Seznam, with an estimated 25% Czech market share, said the size of the claim was based on the period between 2011 and 2018. The claim was sent in the past few days with a 30-day deadline, Seznam said, adding it was prepared to take civil legal action.

Seznam earned revenue of 4.69 billion crowns in 2019 and cumulative revenue of 32 billion crowns since 2011, it said.

Reuters reported in November a group of 165 companies and industry bodies have called on EU antitrust enforcers to take a tougher line against Google.

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

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