Italy issues Google €100 million antitrust fine over Android Auto

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In recent years, Google has been racking up quite a few antitrust fines and now Italy has issue the tech giant with yet another one related to Android Auto. More specifically the Italian Competition Authority has imposed a fine of over €100 million on Google for restricting access to an electric vehicle app called JuicePass from energy firm Enel X Italia.

While the JuicePass app is accessible via your smartphone via Android, the Auto version of the platform has not made access to the app available. As it turns out, the Authority’s probe of the matter has found that Enel X Italia has not allowed to create an Android Auto compatible version of its app.

“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,” reads a press release issued by the AGCM.

“By refusing Enel X Italia interoperability with Android Auto, Google has unfairly limited the possibilities for end users to avail themselves of the Enel X Italia app when driving and recharging an electric vehicle. Google has  consequently favored its own Google Maps app, which runs on Android Auto and enables functional services for electric vehicle charging, currently limited to finding and getting directions to reach charging points, but which in the future could include other functionalities such as reservation and payment,” it adds.

With several nations in the European Union making a push for cleaner energy and promoting the use of EVs in particular, the fact that JuiceApp was restricted has come under greater scrutiny than normal.

Along with the aforementioned €100 million, Google has also been instructed to add JuicePass to Android Auto. On top of this, the AGCM has outlined further steps that Google must take should it wish to avoid future fines.

“The Authority has therefore ordered Google to make available to Enel X Italia, as well as to other app developers, tools for the programming of apps that are interoperable with Android Auto and will monitor the effective and correct implementation of the imposed obligations  through an independent expert to whom Google must provide all cooperation and information requested,” concludes the AGCM release.

With Google having fought past fines imposed by EU authorities, it remains to be seen if it will pay this rather hefty one.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.

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