Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants worry about anti-competitive practices: EU regulator
A year-long investigation into voice assistants like Alexa and Siri and other internet-connected devices has led more than 200 companies to voice concerns about potential anti-competitive practices, EU antitrust regulators said on Wednesday. .
The European Commission has opened similar investigations in the past in sectors such as e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, financial services and energy which ultimately led to lawsuits against companies and heavy fines.
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Alphabet’s Google Assistant are some of the most popular voice assistants.
“When we launched this sector inquiry, we feared that there was a risk of the emergence of gatekeepers in this sector,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“From the initial results released today, it appears that many in the industry share our concerns,” she said.
The EU’s antitrust watchdog said respondents had raised concerns about certain exclusivity and tied selling practices related to voice assistants and the position of intermediaries between users and smart devices.
They also raised concerns about the widespread access of providers of voice assistants and smart devices to treasure troves of data, and the lack of interoperability between devices, with proprietary technology serving as the de facto standard.
The Commission said the investigation’s findings will be open for a 12-week public consultation ending September 1, with a final report expected in the first half of 2022.
© Thomson Reuters 2021