The market power of personal assistants from Amazon, Apple and Google has worried European regulators, who see the chance of practices that violate antitrust laws.
The European Commission released the assessment on Wednesday, after a year-long analysis of the market for digital assistants and other connected devices. More than 200 companies responded to inquiries from the commission.
Similar investigations carried out before in sectors such as e-commerce, pharmaceuticals and financial services have led to cases against the investigated companies and heavy fines.
Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant personal assistants are the most popular in Europe. The global market is expected to double to 8.4 billion devices between 2020 and 2024, according to Statista.
“We’ve seen indications that some practices we know very well could lead to the emergence of ‘gatekeepers,'” European competition defense commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters.
“And from the preliminary results published today, it appears that our concerns are shared by many,” she said.
The EU’s competition advocacy agency cited that survey participants mentioned concerns about certain exclusivity and binding practices related to the devices that include the impossibility of installing a second personal assistant on a device.
A second concern is about personal assistant providers promoting their own or third-party services through pre-set settings, which restricts rivals’ access to consumers.
A third concern is the lack of interoperability between devices.