The Italian competition authority ICA has issued a fine of $ 120 million (€ 100 million) against Google for not allowing a third-party shipping app via Android Auto in 2019.
The case began with an investigation into the automotive software business of the search giant, which until October 2020 included restrictions on the types of applications permitted to be developed and released for use while driving.
Enel Group, an Italian energy company, originally complained in 2019 that Google would not allow the Enel X Recharge app via Android Auto.
The app can help find the locations of electric vehicle charging; a feature Google first added to its maps in 2018.
The Italian Competition Authority’s fine focuses on the Enel X JuicePass, the renamed version of the same app with the same electric vehicle features.
In addition to the fine, the Italian Competition Authority is asking Google to open Android Auto to more developers, something the company has previously done, and to allow the Enel Group to enter the platform.
The decision stated: The authority ordered Google to make tools available for programming interoperable applications with Android Auto to the Enel Group, as well as other application developers.
He added: The authority monitors the effective and correct implementation of the obligations imposed through an independent expert, to whom Google must provide all the required cooperation and information.
The authority said: The fine was imposed because Google preferred to apply maps to external options, and by rejecting the possibility of interoperability with Android Auto, Google unfairly limited users’ possibilities to take advantage of the Enel Group application when driving and recharging the electric vehicle.
Before changing the apps that allow it, Google requested that Android Auto applications include messaging or a media playback option, with Waze navigation and its maps specified.
And since the company changed course, similar JuicePass charging apps, such as ChargePoint, have been launched across the platform, without any problems.
And there’s a possibility that the Enel Group’s complaints have helped spur the change in the first place since the ICA began its investigations before Google relaxed its restrictions.
Google explained that it does not agree with the authority’s decision, and said:
The first priority for the Android Auto platform is to ensure that apps can be used safely while driving, and for this reason we have strict guidelines regarding the types of applications currently supported and based on driver distraction tests and regulatory and industry standards, and there are thousands of apps compatible with Android. Auto, and our goal is to allow more developers to make their apps available over time.
The search giant added: The Enel Group is able to integrate its app into Android Auto using one of the navigation or reservation forms it provides.
Android Auto is becoming more and more popular, and Google has developed direct relationships with European automakers such as Volvo.