back to article Google has blocked in its in-car software rivals, claims German watchdog

Google's bundle-or-nothing offer to car manufacturers for their in-car infotainment systems is a potentially anti-competitive move, Germany's market watchdog has said. The Bundeskartellamt has sent the search giant a statement of objections claiming alternative map services providers could feel the pain as Google won't allow …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Potentially?

    Have we sunk so low that obvious monopoly is not obvious?

    1. abend0c4

      Re: Potentially?

      Have we sunk so low we want short-lived technology built into long-term purchases?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Potentially?

        Reminds me of all these TVs with Android baked in. I went for one that didn't have it built-in because it was cheaper. Instead it had the manufacturers 'smart OS.'

        I was always planning on using it with my computer so had a chuckle when the first thing that popped up on powering the TV was a question on whether I wanted to enable the smart features.

        I chose no.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Potentially?

          I bought an Android TV, for the picture quality, mainly. I used the Android functionality for about 6 months, after that, it never got another security update, that was around 2018.

          The TV is still going strong, although it hasn't seen a network in over 5 years, it just acts as a display for a FireTV, which has been replaced by an Apple TV, as the FireTV ran out of support (and space, there wasn't enough space for Amazon Prime to run without putting up out of space errors). I'll be looking for a dumb TV next time around, or at least, the "smart" features won't be part of the buying decision.

          A TV is something I expect to last for at least a decade, but the "smart" part of the equation is out dated in a couple of years and unsecure probably before that, if Sony and their Android efforts are anything to go by.

          Replacing a 20-150€ every 5 years is cheaper than replacing the whole TV every couple of years, because the manufacturer got bored & couldn't be bothered rolling out security updates...

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Potentially?

          Reminds me of all these TVs with Android baked in

          Some while ago I was in one of the big kitchen applicance shops (you know the ones). Promenently featured was a Samsung fridge, proudly running their version of android and advertised as wifi and PnP enabled (presumably so you can check at any moment to see if it's been pwned yet). The SalesThing was waxing lyrical to some poor couple about the advantages of spending the extra £500 on the monstrosity.

          I managed to refrain from butting in to ask about update cadence cycles and how long would it be supported.. But only just and only because my wife would have given me grief about being impolite!

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What ?

    But, Google, didn't you just complain about Borkzilla locking customers into Azure ?

    How could you ?

    I am soo . . . not surprised.

  3. Dinanziame Silver badge
    WTF?

    I don't get it

    What are "services for infotainment system"? Apart from the GPS/maps system, what else is relevant on a car dashboard? Are car makers really complaining they would want to have Google Maps but their own phone app, or their own AI assistant?

    1. claimed Bronze badge

      Re: I don't get it

      Tesla have a bunch of apps shoehorned in, as sensors are added I would imagine automakers would want at least a consistent view. BMW won’t want the same parking sensor animation as a Ford, for example. Seats, windows, fuel, battery etc never mind apps or games (why? No idea but they will be there)

      Maps and parking camera are just the start, at some point people will find themselves trying to decide between two cars and the infotainment system will swing it

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't get it

        Yup, one that will work for the 10-15 year life of the car, and not be abandonware in 3 years time.

        Drove a car recently where most functions of the head unit just said: Connect Apple Carplay.

        I am looking for a new electric car, and the first 3 I have taken on trips are all disqualified by the UI tech, "driver assistance" and stupid design features that reduce the cars utility.

        The wheels and motors bits of all of them worked perfectly.

        1. gfx

          Re: I don't get it

          VW had a software issue with the ID3 and the cars couldn´t be sold for months piling up on some fields. The updates itself take forever. Some go all touchscreen for all the functions. When that one dies it is game over (until expensive replacement)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get it

      Ah infotainment. Where do I even start with this one. From the voice activated systems to the touch screens for controlling things like climate control.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the first time

    Google's insistence on these terms ended the Blackberry (they can't run Android in a protected jail like it needs to be) and now Google is using the same monopolist behavior to end all the rest of their car competition.

    I haven't had a Blackberry hacked but my last android has a broken boot loader.

  5. Kev99 Silver badge

    Doesn't surprise me. I'm still waiting for someone to create some software that will prevent every built-in app on an Android phone from starting automatically as well delete those app that aren't wanted or needed. Like Samsung,s Bixbys.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These hi-tech cars et al

    Do not want.

    I’ll stick to my pre Internet horse less carriage.

    1. naive

      Re: These hi-tech cars et al

      For around E 300,- several friendly Chinese companies offer an Android based and plug compatible replacement for the wax roll music players installed in most pre-internet cars.

      Way cheaper and more environmental friendly compared to buying a new car.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: These hi-tech cars et al

        or you can learn to sing, if your horse doesn't already know

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: These hi-tech cars et al

      Fully agree.

      Don't want a car with a great lump of display unit (that you are stuck with, no matter how useless / unwanted it is & it will probably get no updates, ever to fix any bugs, vulnerabilities (not a fan of a car open to "hijack" via a music system because some cost cutting non security minded design muppet has not properly thought about CANbus access pitfalls - though TBF the massive car system security nasties of a few years ago are thankfully getting less common )).

      Unlike the old days, when whatever factory fitted music playing system was installed you could easily replace it with a better one, with most of these things you are stuck with them (& usually dont play CDs for music - really don't want hassle of transferring music to phone to link up to car, (don't have iPod or similar) so much more hassle then just shoving a few of my hundreds (thousands?) of CDs in the car & chucking them in the music player )

      I don't want to use the car company installed sat nav etc (I have my own, "old skool" stick it to your windscreen style one, & I get the ability to plug it into my laptop & I get regular data updates for free (or until sat nav maker goes out of business - though hope my device lives a while as perennial free updates are getting rare on sat navs now), whereas a lot of car co GPS systems either lack regular updates or charge an arm and a leg for them)

      Not looking forward to getting a new (ish) car & all the crud it will involve when current car reaches EOL.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before

    Google takes over at least one car maker? Their software, crappy as it is... its right there front and centre for everyone in the car to see.

    They seem to me to be making a case for locking every other player out of the equation. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are optional but with Google getting deeping into the EV's coming off the line, how long before they lock out Apple Car Play? IMHO, I don't think that it will be that long.

    Yes, that is clear monopolistic behaviour but they (google) are big enough to give the EU the finger and pay their fines from the short change found in the CEO office sofa.

    F Google.

  8. bazza Silver badge

    Bonkers

    Surely every car maker must realise that going overboard on adopting Google is going to permanently isolate it from the half of the market (or whatever) that owns an iPhone?

    There's no point in having a smart car. Have Car Play and Android Auto, leave it up to the customer to bring what they want.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: half the market

      Google... will I am sure make a big play on having all sorts of so called 'essential' features ONLY available to Android phone users in the hope of getting 50%+ of car owners to ditch their iPhones.

      While their car system phones home to Google every location that you visit behind your back.

      F google

  9. Alan Brown Silver badge

    The sprit of Doubleclick lives on

    It was the ultimate poison pill

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