just over €100 million (~$123M) by Italy’s antitrust watchdog for abuse of a dominant market position. The case relates to Android Auto, a modified version of OS intended for in-car use, specifically to how Google restricted access to the platform to an electric car charging app called JuicePass, made by energy company Enel X Italia.
Android Auto lets motorists directly access relevant apps (like maps and music streaming services) via a dash-mounted screen. But Enel X Italia’s JuicePass app was not one of the third-party apps Google granted access to. The app is accessible via the — but of course, a driver shouldn’t be reaching for their phone when at the wheel. So barring access through Android Auto puts a significant blocker on relevant usage.
Google’s market restriction of JuicePass has drawn the attention — and now the ire — of Italy’s says Google must provide the same interoperability with Android Auto to other third-party app developers.. The AGCM said today that Google had violated Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the — and has ordered it to make the JuicePass available via the platform. It also
The Authority points out that theapp, which offers some essential services for electric vehicle charging (such as finding and getting directions to charging points), is available via Android Auto — and could, in the future, incorporate directly competitive features like payments.
“According to the Authority’s findings, Google did not allow Enel X Italia to develop a version of its JuicePass app compatible with Android Auto, a specific Android feature that allows apps to be used while the user is driving in compliance with safety, as well as distraction reduction, requirements,” the AGCM writes in a press release announcing the sanction [translated to English using Google Translate].
“JuicePass enables a wide range of services for recharging electric vehicles, ranging from finding a charging station to managing the charging session and reserving a place at the station; this latter function guarantees the actual availability of the infrastructure once the user reaches it.
“By refusing Enel X Italia interoperability with Android Auto,the possibilities for end-users to avail themselves of the Enel X Italia app when driving and recharging an electric vehicle. app, which runs on Android Auto and enables functional services for electric vehicle charging. It is currently limited to finding and getting directions to reach charging points, but it could include other functionalities such as reservation and payment.”
any wrongdoing and says it disagrees with the order. But it did not confirm whether or not it intends to appeal. The claims the restrictions on apps’ access to Android Auto are necessary to ensure drivers are not distracted. It also told us that it has been opening up the platform to more apps over time — with “thousands” now compatible.
It added that it intends to keep expanding availability. However, app has been excluded from Android Auto for over two years.for recharging electric vehicles was not among the “thousands” it has already granted access to. Per the AGCM, Enel X Italia’s
Here’s Google’s statement:
“The number one priority forcan be used safely while driving. That’s why we have strict guidelines on the currently based on driver-distraction tests and regulatory and industry standards.
Thousands of applications are already compatible with Android Auto, and our goal is to allow even more introduced templates for navigation, charging, and parking apps, open for any developer. We disagree with the Authority’s decision and will review our options.”. For example, we have
Google has a dominant position in the market via the Android smartphone platform, with a marketshare in Italy of around three-quarters, according to the competition watchdog. Under European Union law, a finding of market dominance in one market puts a responsibility on a company not to restrict competition in any other markets where it operates — and the EU already found in every market in the European Economic Area back in 2017.
The AGCM said it’s concerned about the impact of Google’s restrictions on app access to Android Auto on the growth of the electric mobility market. “If it were to continue, [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 wrote, adding that meant it did not appear in the list of applications used by users — thereby reducing consumer choice and creating a barrier to innovation.
The Authority suggests Google’s conduct could influence the development of electric mobility during a crucial phase — as recharging infrastructures for electric cars are being built out and can help fuel growth and demand for.
“Consequently, possible negative effects could occur to the diffusion of electric vehicles, to the use of ‘clean’ energy and the transition towards a more environmentally sustainable mobility,” it warned, linking anti-competitive behavior to negative consequences for the environment.
The AGCM added that it would monitor Google’s compliance with its order to ensure it effectively and correctly implements the obligations to provide third-partywith access to Android Auto. The Authority’s action could be a taster of what’s coming down the pipe for gatekeeper players like Google in Europe under the incoming Act (DMA).
The flagship legislative proposal is intended to supplement ex-post competitionwith ex-ante rules on how dominant platforms that intermediate others’ market access can behave, including by imposing up-front requirements that support interoperability.
The idea with the DMA is to supplement the slow and painstaking work needed to bring competition investigations to fruition with proactive measures slapped onto prevent certain types of known market abuse in the first place. However, the regulation is likely years from being adopted and applied across the EU.
In the meanwhile, competition probes of Google devised for that 2018 decision still does not sum to fair competition.continue. Italy’s AGCM October. several EU antitrust decisions in recent years — including a $5BN penalty over how it operates Android. However, search rivals continue to complain that the remedy