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This article was published on May 13, 2021

Italy slaps Google with $123M antitrust fine for restricting access to Android Auto

Italian regulators say the firm unfairly blocked JuicePass from Android Auto

Italy slaps Google with $123M antitrust fine for restricting access to Android Auto Image by: JD Hancock

Google’s antitrust woes continue to mount. Italy’s competition watchdog has fined the search giant €102 million ($123 million) for restricting access to Android Auto, an in-car operating system for Android phones.

The case stems from a complaint by energy company Enel X Italia, which makes an app called JuicePass that allows users to find electric vehicle charging points — a service Google Maps also provides.

The regulator says Google abused its market position by shutting out the rival app from Android Auto for more than two years:

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.

In addition to the fine, the watchdog has ordered Google to make JuicePass available on Android Auto. It said that continuing to exclude the app “could permanently jeopardize” Enel X’s business, impoverish consumer choice, and impede the development of e-mobility.

[Read moreThis dude drove an EV from the Netherlands to New Zealand — here are his 3 top road trip tips]

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Unsurprisingly, Google disagrees with the decision. A spokesperson for the company said, “we will now review our options.”

Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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