Google under new EU antitrust investigation

(Reuters) -Alphabet Inc’s Google is facing a renewed EU antitrust investigation into whether it may have forced device manufacturers to use Google Assistant as the default voice assistant on Android devices, an MLex reporter tweeted on Thursday.

The latest investigation comes amid concerns of potential anti-competitive practices in the race for market dominance among Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant.

Google is already facing hefty fines from the European Commission, which had said it used its popular Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals, an anti-competitive practice dating from 2011.

Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The Commission declined to comment and referred to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s June 9 comments at a news conference on the results of a sector inquiry into the Internet of Things, where respondents expressed concerns about the central role of voice assistants in smart devices and services and behaviors that negatively affect competition.

“There are concerns about attempts to restrict the number of voice assistants accessible on smart devices,” Vestager had said.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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