Italy's watchdog investigates Google for alleged antitrust abuse

Visitors pass by the logo of Google at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech, in Paris, France May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s competition watchdog said on Friday it had opened an investigation into alleged abuse of a dominant market position by Google in the smart device sector.

The watchdog said in a statement Google had allegedly refused to integrate the app “Enel X Recharge”, developed by utility Enel, in its Android Auto app.

Enel’s app allows drivers of electric cars to find charging points for their vehicles and book them.

Google, through its Android operating system, has a dominant position in the smart device operating system market, the regulator said.

A Google spokeswoman said in a statement Android Auto was designed with safety in mind to minimize distractions and ensure apps could be used safely when driving.

“We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to working with the authority to resolve their concerns,” the spokeswoman said.

Enel declined to comment.

The investigation is due to be completed by May 30 next year.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Jane Merriman