Google fined $123 million for abuse of Android dominance by Italian regulators, but for a bizarre reason


13, 2021

Googe’s dominance of the smartphone world has been the subject of much investigation, especially in Europe where Android has a much larger share of the market than in the USA.

The company has already been found guilty of abusing that dominance to suppress competition by other versions of Android and for promoting its search and advertising business, but today Italian regulators fined the company 102 million euros ($123 million) for a rather unexpected reason.

Reuters reports that Google had been found guilty of abusing its dominance of the smartphone market, of which Android made of 75% of in Italy, to limit the reach of developers. Specifically, regulators complained that Google refused to allow electric vehicle service JuicePass’s app onto Android Auto.

The app, which helps EV users find charging points, has been trying for 2 years to get on Android Auto, Google’s simplified view of your smartphone on your car display, but Google refused and instead favoured their own Google Maps app.

“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. “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.”

Beyond the large fine, the regulator also requested Google to make the JuicePass app available on Android Auto.

It seems if you are a convicted monopolist you need to be somewhat more careful about how you treat other companies, a lesson it appears Google still has to learn.

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