Google faces new antitrust law in Europe

“We are an example of the consequences,” said Michal Feix, former chief executive of Seznam, who now directs its policy and legal work as...


“We are an example of the consequences,” said Michal Feix, former chief executive of Seznam, who now directs its policy and legal work as an outside consultant. Without the new laws, he said, “you just can’t compete.”

Google said its success in the Czech Republic was the result of delivering superior service. Czechs “choose our products because they help people find the information they’re looking for — and because we make thousands of improvements every year,” Google said in a statement.

In the Czech Republic, the history of Seznam goes back to an early enthusiasm for the Internet.

Ivo Lukacovic, the founder and owner of Seznam, recalled a childhood without much money; his family had no car or color television. As a teenager in 1989, when the country was still part of Czechoslovakia, he joined his classmates in mass protests, known as the Velvet Revolution, which helped bring down the ruling Communist Party.

“The regime has collapsed and the era of economic freedom has begun,” Mr Lukacovic said on a recent windy morning outside Prague. “Since I was playing with computers, I went to college,” he added.

At 22, Mr. Lukacovic dropped out of the Czech Technical University in Prague after creating Seznam, which means “list” in Czech. It started as a recommendation site of about 10 Czech websites to visit. A search engine was added in 1998; e-mail, cards and other services arrived in the years that followed.

The company continued to grow after Google opened in the country in 2006. Seznam’s search engine was adapted for Czech speakers and added services such as unlimited email storage to track Google offers . In 2008, the Czech Republic, whose population 10.5 million is about the size of North Carolina, was the only place in the 31-nation European Economic Area where Google was not the primary search engine.

In 2010, Seznam’s position began to change. Google has invested heavily in improving its non-English language services and has tried to endear itself to Czech citizens through efforts such as digitize old books held at the 18th century Baroque Library in the Old Town of Prague.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Google faces new antitrust law in Europe
Google faces new antitrust law in Europe
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