EU Regulators Probing Voice Assistants for Anti-Trust Violations
The European Commission (EC) — the governmental body charged with regulating competition — is seeking information from 400 companies operating in Europe on the competitive practices within the Voice Assistant industry. Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Alphabet’s Google Assistant are among the most popular voice assistant devices.
Previously the EC has fined steeply companies in the software, finance and healthcare industries steep for anti-competitive practices. Notably it fine Microsoft more than one billion Euros for its practices around its operating system. European law gives the EC the power to fine companies up to 10% of their total global revenues.
At issue in the probe is the enormous amount of user data collected by “internet of things” devices. Such information could be used to stifle competition or undermine market rivals.
In recent years European Competition Commission Margrethe Vestager has focused on enforcing anti-trust laws within the tech industry. “It sends an important message to powerful operators in these market that we are watching them and that they need to do business in line with competition rules,” Vestager told a news conference. She has brought charges against Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook.