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Google fails to protect business secrets in German antitrust case

Germany’s Cartel Office had investigated whether Google is exploiting its market power in connection with infotainment systems for vehicles.

• February 21, 2024
Google Hq
Google used to illustrare the story

Germany’s top court rejected technology giant Google’s appeal on Wednesday concerning disclosing confidential information to its competitors.

Germany’s Cartel Office had investigated whether Google is exploiting its market power in connection with infotainment systems for vehicles.

According to the verdict, the competition watchdog is allowed to share part of its probe with sat-nav specialist TomTom and voice assistant provider Cerence to see if the firms believe competition concerns exist.

Aside from a single verbatim quote from Google’s internal documents, the company has to disclose its practices to its competitors, the court in Karlsruhe ruled.

The verdict said the other passages were either considered not to be business secrets or the interest of the Cartel Office to clarify the facts outweighed the company’s interest in confidentiality.

Germany’s top competition authority wants to prohibit the company from engaging in various anti-competitive behaviours with its Google Automotive Services (GAS).

This concerns a product bundle consisting of the Google Maps map service, a version of the Google Play app store and the Google Assistant voice assistant, which the company generally only offers to vehicle manufacturers as a bundle. 

(dpa/NAN)

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