Italy’s Antitrust Watchdog to Probe Google Over Abuse of Market Dominance

Italy has joined a growing list of nations to challenge US tech giant Google in connection with alleged abuse of the corporation’s market power in the smart device sector.

The Italian Antitrust Authority said it launched an investigation into antitrust practices. According to a statement, the move comes after Google refused to integrate the application “Enel X Recharge,” designed by Italy’s energy multinational Enel, on its Android Auto app.

According to the regulator, Android Auto allows users to use some apps and phone features while driving, while the exclusion of the Enel’s app reduces the usability of the app, including the booking of recharge stations.

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Enel’s app helps to inform users about the location of charging stations for electric cars and how to reach them. Google reportedly reinforces the business model of its Google Maps app, which also allows the Android users to get information about charging stations.

The competition regulator said that its officials conducted inspections in some of the companies concerned. The investigation is expected to be completed by May 30 next year.

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Google’s Android operating system is one of the world’s most popular mobile software systems. Android is installed on more than 80 percent of devices globally. Google enjoys a dominant position in the market of smart device operating systems.

In March, the European Commission fined the California-based company €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) for abusing its market dominance, marking the third antitrust penalty against the Big Tech firm in less than three years.

In 2018, the EU hit Google with the biggest antitrust fine of €4.3 billion, saying that its Android system tended to block rivals. A year earlier, the corporation was fined €2.4 billion over manipulated search results.

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