Google is in more legal jeopardy with the European Union authorities. Regulators are reportedly investigating the company over forcing device manufacturers to use Google Assistant as the default virtual assistant on Android phones and tablets.
The news broke on Twitter courtesy of MLex Europe Managing Editor, Sam Wilkin. Unfortunately, no further details are available right now.
The EU has been wary of Apple, Amazon, and Google’s market dominance over the years
The new investigations were almost predictable given the longstanding concerns of EU Antitrust regulators over Google’s business practices. Products like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are also in the regulator’s crosshairs.
The EU regulator said in June that multiple companies have expressed opposition to the exclusivity of voice assistant providers. Such practices make it hard for the manufacturers to install other voice assistants on their smart devices, the regulator said.
Authorities are also unhappy about interoperability between smart home devices. Moreover, some companies have expressed fears over Amazon, Apple, and Google aggressively promoting their own products and restricting rival offerings.
The large swathes of data held by these companies have also raised concerns. The European Commission will submit the final report on its investigations into inter-connected devices and voice assistants by mid-2022.
This is not the first time that the EU is investigating Google’s practices, and it’s probably not the last. In June, the EU opened investigations into Google allegedly favoring its own online advertising services over its rivals, thus violating EU competition rules. Regulators are also examining if Google deliberately held back user data from its competitors in the advertising business.
Executive VP of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager said that Google has a presence “at almost all levels of the supply chain,” highlighting the company’s unfair practices.
The French Competition Authority, also known as the Autorité de la concurrence, hit Google with a €500 million fine in July. The company reportedly failed to negotiate “in good faith” with news publishers for using their content on Google’s platforms. This was part of the Digital Copyright Directive law passed by France in 2019. Interestingly, France is the only country in the EU to bring this law into effect.
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