Sun Sep 12 2021
This time it’s over Google’s voice assistant software and could cost the company over $18bn
It’s been reported that Google may be facing renewed interest from the EU in launching an antitrust probe over the strong position its voice assistant holds on the Android market.
Rumours have been circulating over the weekend that the EU Commission might be examining whether the tech giant has been using its position to force mobile and tablet manufacturers to sell their devices with the Google Assistant pre-installed as the default voice assistant on all Androids.
It was only back in June that the EU Commission revealed that their investigation into Google showed many manufacturers had ever growing concerns over the exclusivity and tying practices forced on them over software such as voice assistants when launching Android devices.
Many of those who raised their concern with the Commission also said they had been prevented from installing secondary/alternate voice assistants for users to choose from.
According to Reuters, the European Commission has asked all device manufacturers to provide them with evidence to support the claims of Google forcing them to pre-install Google Assistant, whilst they’re putting particular emphasis on the fact that Google may be using strategies like implementing its Android Certification to ensure only it’s voice assistant option can be included on devices.
The commission is likely to also be looking into if Google has been stifling the competition in this area by prohibiting all smart device manufacturers from installing any other option for users to select between voice assistants.
If the EU Commission does find Google guilty of these practices then it’s quite possible they could face a fine of up to 10% of their global turnover (estimated at around an $18bn fine based on last years financials).
Google responded to Reuters, stating their platform:
Provides more choice to users and device makers than any other mobile platform. Manufacturers can choose which voice assistants to install on their devices and users can also choose which assistants to use and install.
Sun Sep 12 2021