Italy opens antitrust probe into Google because of a rejected Android Auto app

The antitrust authority of Italy has become the last international regulatory body to open an anti-competitive investigation on Google, by joining the European Union and the Competition Commission of India.

The regulator opened the probe on Thursday after the energy company Enel Group complained that Google would not allow the "Enel X Recharge" application to work with Android Auto. The Enel Group was created by the Italian government in 1962 and was privatized in 1999, although its main shareholder is currently the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Google allows third-party developers to develop versions of their Android Auto-compatible applications, but only if they offer messaging or media services. Enel X Recharge is mainly dedicated to helping drivers find charging stations for electric cars.

"Android Auto is designed with security in mind, to minimize distractions and ensure that applications can be used safely when driving," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to working with the authority to resolve your concerns."

India began its investigation at Google earlier this month, although it is not yet clear what prompted the investigation. The European Union has hit Google with three fines totaling € 8.2 billion ($ 9.3 billion) in the last three years for what it says were anti-competitive practices. The most recent fine of 1,500 million euros was imposed in March.

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