Google fined $123 million by Italy’s antitrust watchdog for abusing its dominant position

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Google fined $123 million by Italy’s antitrust watchdog for abusing its dominant position
Sundar PichaiBCCL
  • Google has been found guilty of abusing its dominant position to prevent JuicePass from being used on Android Auto.
  • The app is made by Enel X, a division of the Italian government-owned utility Enel.
  • Over the last three years, Google has been fined $10 billion by European Union’s antitrust regulator.
Android maker Google has been fined $123 million (102 million euros) for abusing its dominant position to the detriment of competing service providers. The fine was levied by Italy’s antitrust watchdog on May 13.

“Through android and the app store Google Play, Google has a dominant position which allows it to control the reach app developers have on final users,” the regulator said in a statement, according to a Reuters report.

The subject of the violation is Google not allowing the JuicePass app on its Android Auto platform. The app is made by Enel X, a division of the Italian government-owned utility Enel.

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According to the complaint, Google has not allowed the JuicePass app on Android Auto for two years. “The contested conduct can influence the development of e-mobility in a crucial phase with possible negative spill-over effects on the spreading of electric vehicles,” the regulator added.

By preventing the JuicePass app on its platform, Google unfairly favoured its own Maps app, according to the regulator.

The JuicePass app allows users to find charging stations on maps for their electric vehicles.

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Not the first time that Google has been charged for antitrust behaviour

This is not the first time that Google has been charged for its antitrust behaviour.

In the last three years alone, the European Union’s antitrust regulator has fined Google a whopping $10 billion for blocking competition in different areas, including online advertising, Android smartphones and online shopping.

In India, too, Google has been the subject of antitrust probes over the last few years. However, either little has come out of these investigations, or there is no clarity on the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) findings, yet.
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The most recent case is related to Google Pay, wherein Google has been charged with abusing its dominant position in smartphones thanks to Android to push users towards its payments app.

And this is not the first instance of Google coming under the CCI’s scanner.

  • In October 2020, Google was reportedly being investigated by the regulator for abusing its dominant position in the smart TV market.
  • Prior to that, in 2019, the CCI kicked off an investigation into Google abusing its power to restrict smartphone companies from choosing other operating systems.
  • In 2018, it came under the scanner for abusing its dominance in online search. It was fined $21 million for this.
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