Google Maps faces renewed scrutiny from DOJ’s antitrust attorneys

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The U.S. Justice Division is investigating Google’s dominance in mapping, reviving a thread of its long-running antitrust investigation into the hunt massive, in line with 3 folks aware of the probe.

Division attorneys had been in the hunt for knowledge and reinterviewing doable witnesses, the folk mentioned, talking anonymously to talk about a pending investigation. The probe is inquisitive about how Alphabet Inc.’s Google bundles its services and products, and may just lead to a brand new antitrust criticism, they mentioned.

The improvement presentations the Justice Division is constant to scrutinize a few of Google’s most well liked merchandise, even after submitting two main antitrust fits towards the corporate.

Google’s phrases of provider require builders to make use of its maps and seek merchandise in combination. The restrictions save you firms from the use of Google Puts knowledge—which provide detailed knowledge, pictures and evaluations of explicit institutions—on rival mapping services and products.

Forcing firms to make use of one product with a view to acquire get entry to to a extra well-liked one, referred to as bundling, can violate antitrust regulation.

Google mentioned the limitations make sure a just right consumer revel in, and that some 3rd events from which it licenses map knowledge prohibit how it’s used.

“Builders make a selection to make use of Google Maps Platform out of many choices as a result of they acknowledge it supplies useful, high quality knowledge,” Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels mentioned. “They’re additionally loose to make use of different mapping services and products along with Google Maps Platform—and plenty of do.”

Competitors have complained the limitations may just impair innovation in numerous rising fields, equivalent to drones, supply and logistics, in addition to electrical and self sustaining cars. At a February 2021 Space listening to, Garmin Ltd. and carefully held Mapbox Inc. raised considerations about Google’s restrictions associated with maps.

A Justice Division spokesperson declined to remark.

The Justice Division started investigating Google in 2019 and has filed two antitrust lawsuits—one inquisitive about seek and any other on its promoting generation industry. The company sought knowledge from the corporate associated with mapping as a part of the hunt case, however in the long run opted to report a slim antitrust criticism that makes a speciality of Google’s contracts with browsers and smartphone makers that require its seek engine to be set because the default.

State legal professionals common performed their very own investigations and filed 3 separate lawsuits towards Google comparable to look, promoting generation and the tech massive’s regulate over apps downloaded on Android smartphones and gadgets.

The state seek case—led through Colorado and Nebraska—was once broader than the only filed through the Justice Division and incorporated some allegations associated with mapping and Google’s bundling of goods to carmakers.

Germany’s antitrust authority opened an investigation into Google’s map restrictions final yr.

Politico previous reported at the revived probe.

2023 Bloomberg Information.
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Google Maps faces renewed scrutiny from DOJ’s antitrust attorneys (2023, February 23)
retrieved 17 March 2023

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