Home Health JuicePass, the story of the Italian app that defeated Google in court

JuicePass, the story of the Italian app that defeated Google in court

by admin

This story begins in the first half of 2018 and ends three years later with a ruling by the Italian Antitrust. It is a story of revenge, of the little one who rebels against the big one, fights and wins. It is the story of Enel X beating Google on JuicePass, its app for charging electric vehicles. But it’s also a story of patriotism, it’s also the story of the twenty or so developers who created that app and they fought to defend it. And it is a story of freedom and competition and market opening.

How did it end (and how did it begin)
The ending is known: on May 13, 2021, the Competition Authority sentenced Google to one fine of 100 million euros for preventing Enel X from integrating the app into Android Auto, the Big G platform that can be used while driving.

What’s less known is how we got here, which is the part we got told by Giovanni Coppola, Head of Global Marketing e-mobility at Enel X: “JuicePass has been rewritten from scratch starting from the experience of the previous Recharge – he explained – We started working on it in mid-2018 and it arrived in the Apple and Android smartphone stores on July 1 2019. In autumn 2018 we did the first attempt with Google to have it integrated within Android Auto ”. However, this attempt was unsuccessful.

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David versus Goliath, like in the Browser War
Those of Enel X did not lose heart, despite the size of the opponent in front of them. Why if Enel is big, Google is gigantic: the Italian company has just under 70 thousand employees and has a turnover of around 78 billion euros a year; the American company, which belongs to the largest Alphabet, has 140,000 employees and a turnover of nearly 183,000 billion dollars a year. Between the two companies begins a rather tense dialogue, made up of proposals, refusals, counter-proposals and veiled threats which somehow even involves the Italian government and indeed the Antitrust.

With a clear purpose in mind: “Right from the start, our idea was that the app was available for both operating systems, both on smartphones and in cars – Coppola told us – We wanted to reach as many people as possible, because it is only by expanding the catchment area that electric mobility will become a mass phenomenon ”. So what? And so the cause and the development of the app go on in parallel and on JuicePass they get to work due team, an internal one, initially composed of 3 people (now increased to 10), and an external one, of about twenty people, who mainly dealt with the writing of the code. “Over time we have made many adjustments, especially thanks to customer feedback, the user experience has improved, the number of recharging points surveyed has increased”, which now number over 100 thousand. Then came the win over Google, not only a personal pride: “We feel we have done something important for the whole sector, to open the market – this is Coppola’s reflection – A bit like what happened in late nineties with browsers to surf the Internet “.

And now? And now Enel X has a couple of objectives ahead: “We want to get to map 200 thousand charging points between Europe and the United States and in October we will have the Trip Planning function, which allows you to calculate the route from one point to another taking into account the autonomy of the car and the charging stations on the itinerary “. Whether Google agrees or not.


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