The market dominance of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Alphabet’s Google Assistant has triggered concerns of potential anti-competitive practices. This is stated by the EU regulators. After a year-long inquiry into voice assistants and other internet-connected devices and also responses from more than 200 companies, the European Commission gave the comment.
Sectors such as e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, financial services and energy conducted inquires have led to cases against companies and hefty fines. Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are Market power and a concern, EU regulators say the most popular voice- assistant devices in Europe. The global market is expected to double to 8.4 billion devices from 4.2 billion between 2020 and 2024. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters that they saw indications that some practices that they know too well may lead to tipping and to the emergence of gatekeepers.
She also added that the preliminary results published appears that their concerns are shared by many players. Vestager said that if the inquiry would lead to cases against companies which will be decided after a 12-week long public consultation ending Sept. 1 and its final report due in the first half of 2022. Respondents cited worries over certain exclusivity and tying practices related to voice assistants such as producers of smart devices being prevented from installing a second voice assistant on a device.
Another concern was about voice assistant providers promoting their own services or those of third parties via default settings on devices. A third concern focused on the troves of data available to providers of voice assistants and smart devices. And the last one is about the lack of inter-operability between devices. There was intense competition in the smart home market, said Amazon.
A spokesperson stated that there will not, and should not, be one winner. Today, Alexa is compatible with over 140,000 smart home products, and they make it easy for device makers to integrate Alexa directly into their own products. Amazon has signed up 80 companies to its Voice Interoperability Initiative that gives customers the ability to access multiple voice services on a single device. Google and Apple did not immediately comment on this.