The Czech internet leader Seznam.cz sent Google a pre-litigation notice demanding payment of 9.072 billion crowns in damages for restricting competition in the field of internet search services. According to the company, the damage was caused by the abuse of Google’s dominant position in the market for licensed operating systems for smartphones and applications within the Android operating system.
Seznam.cz cites a European Commission decision from 2018, which confirmed that Google had violated European Union regulations on competition protection. Google has to pay the amount within 30 days. Otherwise, Seznam.cz will go to court.
“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.
Seznam.cz says that it faces barriers to entry to the Android operating system due to Google’s abuse of its dominant market position.
“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.
Last month, a group of 165 companies and associations called on the European Commission to take a tougher stance against Google. In a letter to EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the technology giant prioritizes its services when searching the Internet. Google, part of Alphabet, rejects the claim. The group includes American and British companies, as well as companies from 21 EU countries. In total, it consists of about 130 companies and 30 associations. They claim to be the largest grouping that has ever turned to the commission for competition. Among the signatories are also long-term critics of Google, such as Yelp, Expedia, and Trivago. The Commission has imposed three fines totaling € 8.25 billion (CZK 218.3 billion) on the US search giant over the past three years.
In response to the 2018 EC decision, Google has revised the licensing rules for Android phone manufacturers for the EU, allowing other search engines and browsers to be used on these devices. At the same time, he appealed against the decision to the EU General Court.
Seznam.cz is the Czech leader in general search services, internet advertising services, and media content presentation. In 2019, it reported revenues of CZK 4.69 billion, and since 2011 its audited revenues have reached the value of almost 32 billion crowns. The current share of the domestic market of general search services is estimated at 25 percent.