Google Maps in the sights of the German competition authority

The German competition policeman is firing on all cylinders against the digital giants. After Apple targeted advertising eight days ago, the Federal Cartel Office said on Tuesday that it had opened a new investigation against the German subsidiary of Google and its parent company Alphabet. This is to examine possible “restrictive practices” imposed by Google Maps to the detriment of other map service providers.

“We have withheld information suggesting that Google may limit the combination of its own mapping services with third-party mapping services, for example when it comes to integrating location data from Google Maps, the search function or Google Street View in maps not provided by Google”, specifies in a press release the president of the Authority, Andreas Mundt.

Google defends itself

According to him, the objective is in particular to “examine whether this practice can allow Google to extend its position of power concerning certain mapping services”. Andreas Mundt adds that his services are also reviewing licensing terms for the use of the group’s map services in vehicle infotainment systems. Customers and competitors of Google Maps will be questioned in this context.

Google assures that developers and business customers have chosen on its platform “among a multitude of options”. “They can use other mapping services in addition to Google Maps – and many do,” guarantees the Mountain View group, which points out with the German competition authorities.

A burst of procedures

At the same time, they are conducting an investigation into the Internet giant’s data processing conditions as well as its New Showcase online news services for press publishers. But this new procedure is based on the new powers of investigation and sanction that the Federal Anti-Cartel Office has had for the past eighteen months in the case of digital companies “of capital importance for competition”. .

For these players, of which Google has been a part since the end of last year, there is no longer any need to prove an “abuse of a dominant position” to launch proceedings. On the basis of this new provision, the German gendarme recalls having already initiated procedures and taken initial decisions against Facebook/Meta, Amazon and Apple.

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