European Union regulators have commenced antitrust probe on the possibility of Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Alexa, Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL)Siri and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Voice Assistant are stifling competition. The voice assistants are being accused of pushing market monopolies.
EU surveying 400 firms on how voice assistants offer recommendations
In the past, the European Commission has had similar investigations in sectors like pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, energy, and financial services, which resulted in lawsuits against companies and hefty fines. The EU regulators are expected to survey over 400 companies as part of the investigation. The focus will be how Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, as well as other voice assistants, could be offering a single option instead of the full collection of competitive alternatives. If there is a possibility that a voice assistant will favor its services and products relative to those of competitors, then that could result in the emergence of a monopoly.
For instance, when a user wants to purchase some product and asks Alexa for the same, the voice assistant will put the order on the Amazon shop cart by default. Similarly, Apple’s Siri has been accepting streaming music from its Apple Music until recently when it allowed third-party services. The same applies to Google Assistant which, when you query it, will give you answers through Google Search and not DuckDuckGo or Bing.
EU watchdog wants fair competition practices from tech giants
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated that there is a need to act now regarding the creation of monopolies by the voice assistants for fear that the same might happen with the internet of things. She indicated that the probe will send a message to the tech giants and that the watchdog is watching them, and they need to carry business as per competition rules.
Margrethe stated that the interest was prompted because of the huge throngs of user data employed in IoT devices. As a result, the regulator wants to ensure players are laid by the rules and don’t use their control of the data to thwart competition.