The companies Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy were fined € 102 million for violating art. 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. According to the Authority, in fact, Google has a dominant position thanks to the Android operating system and the Google Play app store, with which it manages the access of app developers to end users.
In a note released by the Authority, it is emphasized that it is not surprising that most smartphones use Android, with Google as the reference operator on a global scale, thanks to its financial strength.
The Authority found that Google has not allowed the interoperability of the JuicePass app with Android Auto, which is a feature that allows you to use the apps while driving, in compliance with safety and distraction reduction requirements. Among the various services, JuicePass allows you to search for a charging station, reserve the charging station and manage the charging session.
The app in question is owned by Enel X Italia, which saw its proposal to make available to users an app that is useful when driving an electric vehicle and needs to be recharged, thus favoring the Google Maps app.
The app Enel X Italiana has been excluded from Android Auto for more than two years, thus risking not being able to create its own user network in a period in which electric vehicles are experiencing greater diffusion. This means that consumers themselves have a limited choice, as they are forced to resort to the app made available by Google.
A further negative consequence concerns the development of electric mobility, especially the strengthening of the infrastructure network for charging electric cars in this phase of growth in demand for charging services. This undermines the very spread of electric vehicles, which we need for clean energy and greater environmental sustainability.
A Google spokesperson commented on the Antitrust sanction saying it was “respectfully disagreeing with the Authority’s decision,” and added that they will review the documentation and evaluate the next steps. On the other hand, Enel is naturally happy with the decision taken by the Authority, which could mean a turning point for its JuicePass app, as well as for the development of the entire sector. Codacons also declares itself in favour of the sanction, claiming to have stressed several times “how the excessive power of Google ends up damaging not only competitors and operators, but also and above all the final consumers who use the services offered by the company. The abuse of a dominant position in the web and app sector ends up altering the market, controlling and limiting the access of other operators and reducing competition and the possibilities of choice for users who make use of the various services offered, as in the case of the app stores”.