Google is being investigated by EU antitrust regulators on whether it may be forcing device makers to use Google Assistant as the default voice assistant on Android devices, news agency MLex reported on Thursday, September 9.
The European Commission in June stated its sector inquiry into internet-connected devices drew concerns from respondents over certain exclusivity and tying practices related to voice assistants such as producers of smart devices being prevented from installing a second voice assistant on a device.
The most popular voice assistant devices in Europe are Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant, with the global market expected to double to 8.4 billion devices from 4.2 billion between 2020 and 2024, according to market research company Statista.
The EU competition enforcer has asked device makers to provide any evidence that they are being forced to pre-install Google Assistant and if Google wants exclusivity by banning rivals from Android devices, MLex reported.
The Commission also wants to know if Google may be using its certification process for new devices to ensure exclusivity by another means, and the importance of the Google Play Store for different ecosystems, MLex reported.
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The regulator is also checking whether users may be able to use at least two voice assistants at the same time, the news agency said.