Targeting map services: Federal Cartel Office initiates proceedings against Google

The Federal Cartel Office is initiating proceedings against Google because of possible restrictions on competition.

Targeting map services: Federal Cartel Office initiates proceedings against Google

The Federal Cartel Office is initiating proceedings against Google because of possible restrictions on competition. The tech giant excludes competitors from using individual elements of its map services. The company is suspected of further expanding its position of power in this way.

The Federal Cartel Office is now also targeting Google's map service. The authority said it was “following indications that Google is restricting the combination of its map services with third-party map services”. What is meant is the possibility of integrating location data, the search function or the street views from Google Street View into maps that do not come from the Internet group.

The cartel office will now check whether Google can "expand its position of power with certain map services" through practice. Among other things, the group offers the possibility of integrating its maps into websites and apps via the Google Maps platform. The Cartel Office also wants to review the license terms for integrating Google maps into car infotainment systems.

Google replied that developers and companies chose the platform "from a multitude of options". "You can use other map services besides the Google Maps platform - and many do." Google is always working with regulators and is happy to answer any questions.

The investigation is based on the Cartel Office's extended powers for companies with "outstanding cross-market importance for competition". The authority has included Google since the end of last year. She is already checking the conditions for data processing and the news service Google News Showcase at the Internet group.

After the new options for taking action against companies with cross-market competitive importance, which have been in force since the beginning of 2021, the Cartel Office also conducted investigations into the Facebook group Meta, Amazon and Apple. According to the authority, meta also falls under the definition, as announced at the beginning of May. This test is still ongoing at Apple and Amazon.

Last week, however, the antitrust authorities 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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