Italy’s antitrust authority announced Friday it has opened an investigation into Google over alleged abuse of its dominant market position.
The competition watchdog said the probe relates to Google’s alleged abuse of its position in the smart device market.
In a press release, originally in Italian, the Italian Antitrust Authority said it had approved the initiation of a preliminary proceeding against Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy S.r.l., collectively referred to as Google.
The authority confirmed that officials carried out inspections Thursday in some of the companies concerned.
The antitrust authority claims Google had refused to integrate the “Enel X Recharge” app, developed by Enel, in its Android Auto app.
Google, through the Android operating system, holds a dominant position in the smart device operating systems market. Android Auto allows Android users to easily and safely use some apps and phone features while driving, therefore the exclusion of the Enel X Recharge app reduces the usability of the app, the authority added, including the booking of recharge stations.
The statement further added that Google’s interest would be to defend and reinforce the business model of its Google Maps app, which offers a wide range of services to end users, including information on the location of charging stations for electric cars and how to reach them.
The authority confirmed that the proceeding will be completed by May 30 next year.
Google stock was down 0.5% pre-market Friday, having climbed 13.84% year-to-date to trade at $1,178.98 per share.
This comes just a month after the Italian authority began a preliminary investigation into Amazon over alleged abuse of its dominant position in e-commerce and logistics services.
A Google spokesperson told CNBC via email: “Android Auto is designed with safety in mind, to minimize distractions and to ensure apps can be used safely when driving. We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to working with the authority to resolve their concerns.”―CNBC