Virtual Assistants and the DMA

Virtual Assistants and the DMA

"Hey Siri, does the Digital Markets Act now apply to you?"

The use of virtual assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, is starting to gather momentum, but at the same time they are coming under greater scrutiny.

For example, policymakers and market participants have expressed concerns about virtual assistants self-preferencing their own complementary services and using data from third parties to create similar services.

The European Commission’s latest initiative to regulate large tech platforms in digital sectors, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), is likely to have important implications for virtual assistants and the services connected to them. For example, the DMA could i) give users more choice in deciding which services are set as defaults for certain requests on virtual assistants; ii) impose obligations on virtual assistants to share certain data with third-party services; and iii) introduce restrictions on self-preferencing.

This article considers the difficulties of applying the DMA as it relates to virtual assistants. These include i) the possibility that the EC could designate up to three or four companies as gatekeepers; ii) the extent to which the DMA will cover the concerns raised by the EC’s consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry; and iii) the implementation challenges specific to virtual assistants in light of their differences with the precedent set by mobile handsets, for which the EC considered similar obligations.

Read more in our full article.

Virtual Assistants and the DMA