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Czech search engine Seznam to sue Google for abuse of dominant position

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Prague, Czech Republic – Seznam.cz, the top internet search engine in the Czech Republic, is planning to sue Google for abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive practices.

Seznam is seeking more than 10 billion Kc (around €400 million) in damages from the American giant.

Czech Republic: Seznam takes U.S. giant to court over abuse of dominant position

The announcement follows the launch, in December, of pre-litigation proceedings against Google, with Seznam originally seeking 9 billion Kc in damages.

“Over the past several years […] Seznam.cz was continuously trying to break the barriers raised by Google’s abuse of its dominant position,” the company wrote on its website. “However, while distributing its applications and services via mobile devices with Android operating system, Seznam.cz has been permanently facing the market deformities which are results of Google’s illegal practices.”

A Google spokeswoman dismissed the accusations from its Czech competitor, saying the Android operating system could host millions of app developers from all around the world, including Seznam.

Seznam board of directors chairman Pavel Zima said the figure had been revised upwards by 1 billion Kc as the impact of Google’s anti-competitive practices will be more significant and longer-term than initially estimated.

Google in the crosshairs of European antitrust regulators

In a landmark 2018 case, the European Commission ruled that Google was violating EU competition rules, forcing the U.S. giant to launch the Choice program – amending contracts with manufacturers and theoretically allowing users to decide which applications to install on their mobile device.

Seznam’s imminent lawsuit is based on the grounds that this change did not sufficiently open up the markets to other providers and that Google is still restricting competition.

Two years ago, the European Commission fined Google a whooping €1.49 billion for “illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts.”

Several countries, including France, Italy and Turkey, recently imposed additional fines worth hundreds of millions of euros on the U.S. giant for abusing its dominant position, either due to malpractices on the online advertising market or for limiting which apps and services are made available on Android-powered smart devices.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.

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