PRAGUE (Reuters) - Seznam.cz, the Czech Republic’s leading home-grown web search platform, said on Thursday it had claimed 9.072 billion crowns ($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.
A spokeswoman for Google, a unit of Alphabet, said it could not comment as it had not yet received the claim.
“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.
Reuters 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.
($1 = 21.7690 Czech crowns)
Reporting by Jason Hovet and Michael Kahn; Editing by Kim Coghill and Alexander Smith
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