074期单双中特 www.khmax.icu ROME, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Italy's drive toward more widespread electric car usage may have hit a speed bump in the form of a high-stakes competition case between Internet search giant Google and Enel, Italy's largest electric utility.
Italy's antitrust regulator has opened up a probe to determine whether Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Corp., is dominating a dominant position in the mobile phone sector to limit Enel's ability to publicize its electric car recharge network.
"All companies do everything they can to compete, but the question for Italian antitrust officials is whether Google is being unfair in its fight against Enel," Luca de Grazia, an attorney specializing in competition law, told Xinhua.
The case rests on Google's decision not to allow the Enel X Recharge app to integrate with the Android Auto app, which allows owners of smart phones using Google's Android operating system to use apps through their cars while driving. The Enel app works directly through Android phones, as well as on the Apple iOS operating system and the iOS CarPlay app.
Android is the dominant operating system in Italy, accounting for around 74 percent of all smart phones. Apple's iOS is the second with 24 percent, with other rivals far behind.
Enel X Recharge is designed to help drivers easily locate the closest electric car battery charging system while on the road. Not having access to the Android Auto app makes the Enel app far less viable.
"The antitrust probe is to determine whether Google is prohibiting Enel's access to the is Android Auto app for legitimate reasons, or whether it is using the strength of the Android operating system to limit Enel," Rocco Panetta, an antitrust specialist and founder of Panetta & Associati, a law firm, said in an interview.
The Italian media speculated that the connection could be Google's own ambitions regarding driverless cars.
In a statement, Google denied wrongdoing. The company said that the Android Auto app "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."
Panetta said that if it is determined that Google's move to prevent Enel X Recharge from integrating with the Android Auto app is ruled to be an abuse of Google's dominant position in the smart phone market, the regulator could take one of two paths: fining the company or simply requiring it to allow the Enel X Recharge app to integrate with the Android Auto app.
Panetta said the fight between the two companies could escalate: "In terms of brand awareness, it may seem like a giant company like Google would have an unfair advantage over Enel, but make no mistake: these are both huge companies with deep pockets."
According to the "Fortune Magazine" ranking of the world's largest companies by revenue, Google parent Alphabet is the world's 52nd largest company with annual revenue last year of 111 billion U.S. dollars, while Enel is 83rd with 84 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2018.
This is not Google's first competition-related problem in Europe: The European Union has fined Google a total of 8.2 billion euros (9.3 billion U.S. dollars) in competition related fines since 2016.