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Dealing with card competition: Federal Cartel Office investigates against Google

Dealing with card competition: Federal Cartel Office investigates against Google

Status: 06/21/2022 1:41 p.m

The Federal Cartel Office has initiated proceedings against Google. According to the authority, it is being investigated whether the US company restricts the combination of Google Maps with third-party map services and thus expands its position of power.

The Bundeskartellamt is now also targeting Google’s Maps service. The authorities announced on Tuesday that they are investigating indications that Google is restricting the combination of Google Maps with third-party map services. This means, for example, the possibility of integrating location data, the search function or the street views from Google Street View into third-party maps.

It will be examined whether Google further expands its position of power through this practice. In their proceedings, the competition authorities are relying on new powers that were granted to them in 2021 to secure competition in the internet economy. Google’s market dominance was already established at the beginning of the year. Based on this, the Federal Cartel Office is already examining Google’s conditions for data processing and the news service Google News Showcase. The Cartel Office now also wants to review the license terms for integrating Google maps into car infotainment systems.

Google’s competitors are surveyed

Upon request, Google said it would work with regulators and answer any questions. At the same time, a spokesman pointed out that users could also use other map services, and many would do so. The Bonn regulators will be questioning customers and competitors of Google’s map offering in the coming weeks.

Google is not the only US technology giant that is in the sights of German competition watchdogs. There are also proceedings against Amazon, Apple and Facebook owner Meta. This test is still ongoing at Apple and Amazon. Last week, however, the antitrust authority initiated proceedings against Apple in connection with new privacy protection features that allow users to prevent developers from tracking their activities across different apps and websites. The authority wants to check whether Apple could gain advantages with it.

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