Google Says "Scusa" To Italian GPhone Fans

There are just a few restrictions to Google’s $10 million Android Developer Challenge. You need to be of legal age, and you can’t be from Cuba, North Korea, or Sudan. And you can’t live in Italy, either.

Why can’t residents of the world’s 7th-largest economy and 10th-biggest Internet market play in Google’s “build your own mobile app” sweepstakes? A “Google spokesperson” tells us, via e-mail, that the challenge “is available only in countries where the program guidelines meet local laws. Due to specific local laws around these types of programs, we are not able to open the Challenge to residents of Italy.”

Google’s Italy blog explains it a bit more (unless you read Italian, you’ll have to trust on this), blaming Italian law for imposing “bureaucratic requirements on non-Italian” companies that want to put on competitions. Now Italy’s politicians, newspapers and bloggers are stomping around, and accusing Google of discrimination, but they’re not making much headway. The best they’ve been able to extract out of GOOG is a vaguely worded “intention… to allow developers residing in Italy to participate to the second phase.”

Next up: Protests from Canada’s feisty Quebecois population, who are also shut of the challenge.

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