A529 - ICA: investigation launched against Google for alleged abuse of a dominant position


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In the meeting of 8 May 2019, the Italian Competition Authority decided to launch an investigation against Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy S.r.l. (indicated together as Google) to ascertain an alleged abuse of a dominant position in breach of art. 102 of the TFEU.

Yesterday AGCM officers have carried out inspections, with the support of the Special Antitrust Unit of the Guardia di Finanza, at the premises of some of the companies involved.

Google, via the Android operating system, holds a dominant position in the market of operating systems for smart devices and allegedly refused to integrate the app "Enel X Recharge”, developed by Enel to provide end users with information and services for recharging electric car batteries, into the Android Auto environment.

Android Auto allows owners of Android smartphones to easily and safely use certain apps and mobile phone features when driving a vehicle. Therefore, the exclusion of the app Enel X Recharge from Android Auto reduces the usability of this app by users and restricts their ability to use the utilities of the app, including booking charging columns.

Google seems to have an interest in defending and strengthening the business model of its Google Maps app, which offers a wide range of services to end users, including information on the location of columns for charging electric cars and directions on how to reach them. Google Maps also represents a point of access to end users as well as to the data stream generated by their activities.

 The investigation shall be concluded by 30 May 2020.

 Rome, May 17, 2019