A HomePod with the Google assistant or an Amazon Echo with Siri: the European Commission asks to end the lack of interoperability between the assistants
Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri and Google has ‘Assistant’. But these assistants do not work on rivals’ devices. A commercial decision that is being investigated by the European Commission and, according to announced today through a statement, may represent a case of anti-competitive practices.
Europe has many open fronts and smart assistants will be one more. After listening to the opinion of 200 companies, the European Commission has determined that the position of the big three companies may pose a problem in the Internet of Things sector. Between the three smart assistants they cover more than 4.2 billion devices in Europe. A number that by 2024 could double to 8.4 billion devices, according to Statista data.
The power of smart assistants and the lack of interoperability are of concern in Europe
In September this year, the European Commission will carry out an in-depth investigation into the use of smart assistants, with the intention of offering its conclusion in early 2022. “From the preliminary results published today, it appears that our concerns are shared. by many companies, “said Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition.
The first concern is precisely that voice assistants are very exclusive. If a device uses one of them, a second can no longer be installed. A second concern is that different companies only promote their services and limit the use of your rivals’ assistants.
If a product takes advantage of the Google Assistant capabilities, it doesn’t offer as much Alexa compatibility. Or the case of Apple’s HomePods, where we don’t have access to assistants from other brands. The Commission believes that this lack of interoperability limits competition.
The Commission statement also points to the use of the data and the lack of compatibility with each other. Each of these ecosystems is very closed, which for Apple, Amazon or Google it may already be fine, but for the rest of the companies it is a problem.
Faced with this position, already in 2019 from Amazon, Microsoft, Qualcomm and more than 30 companies the ‘Voice Interoperability Initiative’ alliance was created, to try to make the use of smart assistants more flexible. An initiative in which neither Google nor Apple appear, although Facebook does, who later joined in September 2020. We will see if the position of the European Commission forces changes in this sector.
Via | Reuters