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EU planning to go after Google again, this time over Google Assistant
- Google may be subject to another antitrust investigation by the EU.
- The EU Commission is examining whether Google is forcing OEMs to install Google Assistant as the default voice assistant.
- Antitrust regulators will release a final report in H1 2022 and may launch an official investigation after.
Google is no stranger to antitrust investigations in Europe and the US, being hit with hefty fines over the past few years, including a landmark $5 billion fine over controversial Android practices, by the EU Competition Commission. According to a report by MLex (via Reuters), Google is in the EU’s crosshairs once again. This time, it has to do with Google Assistant.
The EU Commission is looking into whether Google forces OEMs to install Google Assistant as the default voice assistant and stops them from including rival voice assistants on their devices. This follows previous comments by EU antitrust regulators back in June that questioned the market dominance of Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant in Europe.
See also: The complete guide to Google Assistant
The Commission is asking device makers to provide evidence regarding these anti-competitive practices. Regulators are also studying if users can use two voice assistants simultaneously. Also in question is whether Google is misusing its certification process for new devices to ensure exclusivity.
The EU antitrust regulators will provide a final report on its sector inquiry in the first half of 2022. If required, it may launch an official investigation after. If found guilty, Google will likely face another huge fine.
In an email statement to Reuters, a Google spokesperson said that “manufacturers can choose which voice assistants to install on their devices and users can also choose which assistants to use and install.”