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Google slapped with fine by Italian regulators over abuse of market position


Google, owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), has been hit with a €102mln (£87.8mln) fine by Italian competition authorities after the country’s watchdog said the tech giant had abused its dominant market position.

On Thursday, the Antitrust Authority said the company’s Android mobile operating system and the Google Play app store gave it a dominant position in the market which it had abused by preventing JuicePass, an electric vehicle services app developed by software group Enel X, to operate on Android Auto, a service that allows apps to be used when driving.

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The regulator said that by preventing JuicePass to operate on Android Auto, Google had “unfairly limited the possibilities for end users to avail themselves of the Enel X Italia app” and as a result had also favoured its own Google Maps app, which runs on Android Auto and enables functional services for electric vehicle charging.

“The exclusion of the Enel X Italia app from Android Auto has been going on for more than two years, and if it were to continue, could permanently jeopardise Enel X Italia’s chances of building a solid user base at a time of significant growth in sales of electric vehicles. In addition, the JuicePass app could not be included in the list of applications used by users, leading to an impoverishment of consumer choice and an obstacle to technological progress”, the Authority said in a statement.

The regulator added that Google’s behaviour could “influence the development of electric mobility in a crucial phase of its launch” and as a consequence could cause “possible negative effects” to the diffusion of electric vehicles and the use of clean energy.

In addition to the fine, the watchdog also said it has ordered Google to make the JuicePass app available on Android Auto as well as opening the service to other app developers.

Shares in Alphabet were up 0.9% at US$2,258 in pre-market trading in New York.

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