Google fined 102 million euros in Italy for shutting down car app


The Italian antitrust authority said Google had abused its dominant position in the market by not allowing the JuicePass app to run on Android Auto.

Google has been fined more than 100 million euros by the Italian antitrust authority.

The competition regulator said the tech giant had abused its dominant position in the market by not allowing an Enel X app on its Android Auto platform.

Android Auto is a system developed by Google that mimics the functionality of an Android device on the dashboard screen of a car. It allows certain applications to be used while a person is driving, in compliance with safety requirements.

For over two years, Enel X’s JuicePass app has not been allowed on Android Auto. The application of the Italian company – a subsidiary of energy supplier Enel – offers services related to the charging of electric vehicles, such as finding the nearest charging station and reserving a place there.

The Italian antitrust authority said that by refusing to make JuicePass available on Android Auto, Google had “limited the possibilities” for users to use the Enel X app when driving an electric vehicle and needing to recharge.

Thus, the regulator declared that the company had “privileged its own application Google Maps”, usable on Android Auto. Google Maps is currently limited to navigation and allows users to search for charging stations, but it could include more features competing with apps like JuicePass in the future.

The antitrust body has claimed that if JuicePass remains excluded from Android Auto, it could “definitely jeopardize” the ability of Enel X to build a strong user base at a time when there is growth in vehicle sales. electrical, and have a negative impact. on consumer choice.

The Italian antitrust authority has now fined Google € 102 million for violating EU regulations and has said the company will have to provide tools for interoperability with Android Auto to Enel X and to other application developers.

In response, Google said it did not agree with the authority’s decision and would consider its options.

“The number one priority for Android Auto is to ensure that apps can be used safely while driving. That’s why we have strict guidelines on the types of applications currently supported and these are based on driver distraction testing and regulatory and industry standards, ”the company said in a statement.

“Thousands of apps are already compatible with Android Auto, and our goal is to empower even more developers to make their apps available over time.

Google has already been hit with antitrust fines in Europe related to its advertising practices and Android restrictions.

It could also face tighter controls in the future under the Digital Services Act and the EU’s proposed Digital Markets Act, which aim to reduce the monopoly that large multinationals have in the industry. digital space.

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Deana N. Guinn

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