Google and Amazon defended them "Smart" digital assistants their, on June 15, In front of him US Congress, following concerns about the dominance of the two tech giants in the reported market.
Members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties expressed in this hearing concerns about the so-called anti-competitive practices of the two companies, such as selling devices below cost and promoting their own services over those of competitors on their platforms.
The senator Amy Klobuchar, A Democrat from Minnesota and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Anti-Monopoly Market Subcommittee, focused on the fact that Amazon has more than 50% of the market "Smart" digital assistants-speakers, with Google to have 30%, while also emphasizing the interoperability of devices. The senator also pointed out that the expansion of the two technology giants to more home appliances risks further consolidating the market, giving a advantage to established "players". Indicatively, he mentioned the scenario of an Amazon device that allows customers to buy groceries only from Whole Foods owned by Amazon.
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Specifically, the senator stated the following: "In a few years, people may have 20 or more interconnected appliances in their homes - from a vacuum cleaner and refrigerator to speakers and lighting fixtures. We want these devices to work together seamlessly. "You do not have to choose the right appliances for your home based on whether they are perfectly compatible with Google or Amazon digital assistants."
This hearing is another move by lawmakers on Capitol Hill to control the practices followed by the largest technology companies, while considering the possibility of reforming the antitrust laws to impose stricter regulations on companies. Klobuchar and the senator Mike Lee of Utah, a senior Republican on the Antitrust Commission, have introduced their own legislation to review and strengthen antitrust enforcement. Members of parliament presented their own proposals last week.
Ο Eddie Lazarus, its chief legal adviser Sonos, said that the business practices of Google and Amazon make it difficult for the speaker company to compete. He added that the companies are infringing on 150 patents held by Sonos, among other complaints.
Ο Ryan McCrate, an Amazon executive, testified that his giant E-commerce makes its technology available to other developers, so that competing music services, for example, are available through the voice assistant service "Alexa". He also noted that Amazon has formed a coalition of companies committed to ensuring that consumers have access to multiple, simultaneous, voice services on a single device.
Moreover, the Wilson White, its Senior Director of Government Affairs Google, stated that the company gives priority to consumer choice and privacy. On many devices running Google's Android operating system, consumers may choose to set up competitors' voice assistants, such as Alexa.
Lee stressed that technology companies should not be given even more power to guide consumer choices as more and more new products enter the home. "Why give technology companies the opportunity to control and influence our daily lives more? We know that they do not always use this power in the interest of society. We certainly know enough to estimate that this will not have a happy ending. "