Italian competition authority fines Google €102 million

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The Italian competition authority fined Google €102 million for allegedly abusing a dominant position over app developers. The immediate reason is the refusal of the Enel X Italia app to Android Auto.

According to the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, Google has not allowed Enel X Italia to make its so-called JuicePass app compatible with Android Auto mode for two years. Through JuicePass, Italian users can get directions to electric car charging stations and make reservations at these charging stations.

“Google’s unlawful refusal to provide Android Auto has limited the functionality of the Enel X Italia app. Google then offered services through its own Google Maps app to reach charging stations. There is a chance that payment and reservation options will be added in the future,” the competition authority said in a statement.

According to the Italian authority, the exclusion of JuicePass from Android Auto may hinder the use and adaptation of the app at a time when the electric car market is growing. Google’s stance would also influence the development of electric vehicles during a crucial phase, according to the authority.

In addition to the €102 million fine, the Italian competition authority issued a ban requiring Google to allow both Enel X Italia and any other app developer access to Android Auto mode. The authority says it will appoint an independent expert who will check whether Google is effectively implementing the measures imposed and who will monitor the effects of the measures. Google has not yet commented on the Italian authority’s decision.

Enel, the multinational energy company behind the app, was founded in Italy in 1962. It was privatized in 1999, but today the Italian state is still the largest shareholder with 23.6 percent of the shares.

Update, 12:00 p.m.: Added information about Google and Enel. Thanks to Nimja.

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