EU antitrust regulators are investigating Apple, Google, Amazon and others to see if they are using their digital assistants and smart home products to gain a monopoly,media reported. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, has announced an investigation into the Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure users are not confined to a single ecosystem.
“When big companies abuse their power, they can quickly push the market beyond the threshold and move from competition to monopoly,” Mr. Vestager said in a statement. “
Mr. Verstapre expressed concern about products such as Amazon’s Alexa assistant. Alexa links Amazon’s vast retail, hardware and data collection businesses. “Voice assistants and smart devices can collect a lot of data about what people are used to. Large companies can misuse the data collected through such devices,” the commissioner said. While the biggest target of the route seems to be Silicon Valley technology companies, Mr. Verstapnoa also points to Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta voice assistant.
The European Union has also conducted several previous tech antitrust investigations, including google’s acquisition of wearables company Fitbit and Amazon’s use of third-party seller data.
At present, it is clear that the investigation is at an early stage. The European Commission sent 400 questionnaires to smart homes, wearable technology and voice assistants to gather details about data collection and interoperability. The agency plans to submit a preliminary report by spring 2021, after which enforcement action may be taken.