Italy’s competition watchdog has ordered Google to pay over €100 million ($123 million) for abuse of its dominant position. The regulator said Google had shut out an electric vehicle recharging app from its Android Auto infotainment platform for cars for over two years.
The company at the core of the action is Enel X — a subsidiary of Italian energy provider Enel — which through its JuicePass app gives EV drivers access to about 95,000 public charging points in Europe. The watchdog said by blocking the app for over two years Google was essentially favoring Google Maps, which also lets users search for nearby EV charging points. Along with the fine, the regulator told Google to make the JuicePass app available on Android Auto.
Echoing concerns raised by its EU and UK counterparts, the Italian authority pointed to Google’s gatekeeper status over the digital economy. The regulator said Android OS and the Google Play store had given the company a “dominant position” that allowed it to” control the access of app developers to end users.” In the case of Enel X, the watchdog said that by excluding the JuicePass app Google had put its rival’s business in jeopardy and potentially hobbled the advancement of electric mobility.
And this is why monopolies shouldn’t be allowed to own the market and place their own products on that market. It’s one or the other, not both.