Google again faces the scrutiny of the European Commission. Brussels plans to investigate whether the Mountain View giant has forced Android smartphone makers to use Google Assistant as the default assistant.
Over the past few years, Google has been facing scrutiny from the European Commission. Now, the Mountain View giant can once again be in the “crosshairs” of Brussels through a new investigation of its practices.
Apparently, the European Commission plans to investigate whether Google has forced Android smartphone makers to use Google Assistant as the default assistant. For now, the technology company has not gone public to comment on the investigation.
The European Commission declined to comment on the situation. Speaking to Reuters, Brussels refers only to comments made by Margrethe Vestager, vice president of the European Commission, at a press conference regarding the presentation of the preliminary results of a report on companies that sell IoT services and products in the European Union.
The report points to Google, Amazon and Apple as the “usual suspects.” Several of the companies questioned in the context of the report also expressed concern about the exclusivity practices related to voice assistants and practices that limit the ability to use different voice assistants on the same device.
It is recalled that, in June, the European Commission announced that it had opened a formal antitrust investigation to Google to verify whether the company is violating competition rules in the European Union.
The investigation aims to analyze whether Google is favoring its online advertising technology over other ad service providers. The priority investigation will examine, in particular, whether the company is “distorting competition by restricting third party access to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving that information for its own use.”
There is no statutory deadline for completing the investigation, and if Google’s practices are found to violate European rules, the company could risk a fine for abuse of dominant position.
Also in early June, Google announced that it would offer even more options to choose alternative search engines for Android smartphone users. The decision to make available more options for search engines beyond Google was initially taken by the company in 2019, after the European Commission imposed three fines on it, with the last one being passed in March of that year.