Google Assistant at the heart of an antitrust investigation in Europe

Installed by default on all smartAndroid phones, Google Assistant is in the sights of the European Competition Commission, which has just launched a antitrust investigation concerning him. The European body seeks to know if the American giant obliges the manufacturers OEM à install the default voice assistant, or even prevents them from offering a second one on their devices. Although the answer to the question leaves little doubt, the web giant assures that it has never transgressed the regulations ...

Google Assistant by default, unfair competition?

Android users know this well, Google Assistant is everywhere on their mobile devices. Installed by default, it is not easy to deactivate it, let alone replace it with a competitor. A situation of particular interest to the European Competition Commission who wishes to clarify the practices of the Mountain View firm by investigating alleged anti-competitive practices.

The MLex firm, quoted by Reuters, reports that the EU competition authority has asked manufacturers to provide any evidence of a Google obligation to pre-install Google Assistant and prohibition to do the same for its rivals. The regulator also checks whether Android users can use at least two voice assistants at the same time and whether it is easy to do so.

"Manufacturers can choose which voice assistants to install on their devices and users can also choose which assistants to use and install."Google retorts, arguing that its Android operating system offers more choices than any other mobile platform.

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Android: put Alexa by default voice assistant

Indeed, if Google Assistant is enabled by default in almost all manufacturers of smartAndroid phones, it is possible to change it to Amazon Alexa or another assistant, which is not the case with its competitor, Siri being imposed by Apple on iOS. But Google is of particular concern to the European Union because of its dominant position, over 76% of smartphones sold on the old continent running on Android, which leaves little chance for competing assistants ...

The Commission has announced that it will publish a final report on its sector inquiry in first semester 2022, after which she might launch a antitrust proceedings and impose fines on Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Already ordered to pay a total of more than 8 billion in three cases in recent years, the company faces a financial penalty of up to up to 10% of its worldwide turnover.

Fascinated by Alexa since the day I received it in beta test, I gradually became passionate about the subject, before deciding to go further by creating a site with Jean-Christophe. An activity that allows me to quench my thirst for new technologies and share my discoveries about the nicest of communities: Les Alexiens.