The European Union has been constantly putting pressure on tech giants to be more fair in their business practices. Some of the largest fines that US tech giants have faced have been from the EU. Recently, Apple was fined ~$16 billion by the EU for failing to pay taxes to Ireland. While that decision was later reversed by a court, problems are far from over for giants such as Apple, Google, and Amazon.
According to a new report, the European Union has asked for information from 400 companies. What sort of information? Apparently, the EU is looking to see if there are any issues with voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. It’s trying to sniff out any potential antitrust violations from the tech giants.
European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that the step is to send a message to the companies that the EU is watching them closely. The commissioner further added that the EU is interested in these assistants because of the large amount of user data that is used in IoT devices. “Interoperability is of the essence if we want to make this market accessible.” Vestager is quoted as saying.
Fines for such issues can be up to 10% of the companies’ global revenue. That is a huge amount. After all, Apple’s revenue was $260 billion last year. That means it could be fined up to a whopping $26 billion if the EU finds it violating antitrust laws. Obviously, this is all assuming the EU finds issues with these assistants.
At the end of the day, it’s better for us as consumers if regulatory authorities pay more heed to how companies use our data and practice their businesses.