10. 12. 2020
Czech Seznam.cz sends over CZK 9 billion bill to Google as a damage compensation claim
Czech #1 online platform Seznam.cz requests CZK 9.072 billion from Google as a compensation for damage caused as a result of restricted competition in general internet search. This is a result of Google’s abuse of its dominant position on the Czech market with licensed operating systems and application stores for smart devices equipped with Android operating system.
Pavel Zima, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Seznam.cz, explains: “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.” He adds that the claimed CZK 9.072 billion by the company has solid basis and was assessed for the period between 2011 and 2018 by international economic experts.
Over the past several years trough business cooperation with global device manufacturers Seznam.cz was continuously trying to break the barriers raised by Google’s abuse of its dominant position. 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 that European Commission found in breach with EU antitrust rules.
Michal Feix, CEO of the Chronos Consulting company preparing and coordinating this claim and defending Seznam.cz’s interests in Brussels points to the heart of the case: “It mainly concerns illegal practices with Google requiring manufactures to pre-install Google applications as a condition for licensing Google’s app store, Google’s incentives to certain device manufacturers for exclusive pre-installation of Google’s applications and last but not least preventing developers from distribution of their alternative forks of Android operating system. Google created a sophisticated system of barriers through which it was preventing Seznam.cz for many years from to enter the market and it was doing so illegally under EU antitrust rules. As a consequence, Seznam.cz suffered damage.”
Seznam.cz is a Czech leading online platform on the general search services market, as well as in online advertising and media content production in the Czech Republic. Seznam.cz’s revenues reached CZK 4.69 billion in 2019, audited cumulative revenues since 2011 reached almost CZK 32 billion. Seznam.cz’s share of the Czech general search market is currently estimated at 25%.
The damage claim sent to Google during past few days includes a 30-day deadline for payment of the claimed amount. Following the lapse of the deadline, Seznam.cz is prepared to claim the compensation trough civil actions to be brought before a court.