Google Maps Faces German Antitrust Watchdog Probe

Google is under investigation by Germany’s antitrust watchdog amid concerns over potentially illegal terms for the use of its maps platform.

The Federal Cartel Office said Tuesday it opened a formal probe after initial findings suggest that the US giant is limiting options to use alternative map providers when app developers and other businesses seek to combine their offerings with maps. The regulator is also looking at the terms for Google’s Automotive Services, according to the statement.

Andreas Mundt, president of the watchdog, said it had reason to believe that Google “may be restricting the combination of its own map services with third-party map services, for example when it comes to embedding Google Maps location data, the search function or Google Street View into maps not provided by Google”.

The move comes after the Federal Cartel Office in January classified Google´as a company of “paramount significance across markets”, paving the way for the authorities to clamp down on any potentially anti-competitive activities.

Parallel proceedings are already ongoing to examine Google’s terms and conditions for data processing and its news offer Google News Showcase.

An amendment of the German Competition Act came into force last year, allowing the authority to intervene earlier, particularly against huge digital companies.

The watchdog has also classified Meta, the company that owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, as a company of “paramount significance across markets”.

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