What you need to know
- Italy's Competition Authority has imposed a €100 million ($123 million) fine on Google for abusing its market dominance.
- The antitrust watchdog found that Google didn't allow Enel X Italia to create a version of its JuicePass e-mobility app compatible with Android Auto.
- Google has issued a statement saying it disagrees with the authority's decision and is currently reviewing its options.
Italy's antitrust watchdog, AGCM, has fined Google over €100 million ($123 million) for abuse of its dominant position. In a press release announcing the sanction, Italy's Competition Authority says the search giant has violated Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The antitrust authority's findings revealed that Google did not allow energy company Enel X Italia to release an Android Auto version of its JuicePass app, which helps electric vehicle owners find and reserve a place at charging stations. Google's motive behind the restriction, according to the AGCM, was to favor Google Maps, one of its best Android apps. While the app currently only allows users to find and get directions to charging stations, it is expected to gain new functionalities such as reservation and payment in the future.
Google claims that its strict guidelines on apps' access to Android Auto are required to ensure drivers do not get distracted while they are driving. In a statement sent to Reuters, Google said:
There are thousands of apps compatible with Android Auto, and our goal is to enable even more developers to make their apps available over time.
The antitrust authority believes that if Google continues to exclude the Enel X Italia app from Android Auto, it could "permanently jeopardize Enel X Italia's chances of building a solid user base at a time of significant growth in sales of electric vehicles." It adds that the move has also lead to "an impoverishment of consumer choice and an obstacle to technological progress."
Italy's AGCM is also investing Google's advertising business for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the country's digital advertising market. The probe is expected to be concluded by November this year.
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