Bundeskartellamt: Google Maps is said to disadvantage alternative map services

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The Bundeskartellamt has initiated proceedings because Google may be putting competing providers at a disadvantage when it comes to map services. Google Maps therefore limits the possibility of combining information from the map service with maps from third parties.

Specifically, it is about the options, location data from Google Maps, the search function or Google Street Include View on non-Google maps. In the case of Google in particular, this could be an anti-competitive intervention because the group has a dominant position in the market, according to the Bundeskartellamt's statement.

“We will now examine, among other things, whether Google could further expand its position of power with certain map services through this practice. The examination extends in parallel to license conditions for the use of Google's map services in vehicles,” says Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt. The “Google Automotive Services” in infotainment systems, which are also heavily regulated, are relevant for cars.

Further procedures are running

Due to a new legal basis, the Federal Cartel Office has been able to open a large number of proceedings in recent months, which, in addition to Google, also affect Amazon, Apple and the Facebook parent company Meta. The other proceedings against Google relate to the data processing of the group and Google's News Showcase. With this service, the search engine operator cooperates with press publishers, who receive fees for providing content.

Just last week, the Federal Cartel Office also initiated proceedings against Apple. The reason is the tracking regulations that have been in force since iOS 14.5. Due to this requirement, users must first agree to tracking by third-party apps. The Bundeskartellamt welcomes such regulations in principle, but they should apply to everyone in line with competition – and therefore also to Apple. But the competition authorities doubt that. The accusation in the proceedings is that Apple prefers its own offers.