Pressed by US Senator Amy Klobuchar on Amazon, Google Matter Smart Home Alliance

US Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote to the companies on Tuesday, saying Amazon and Alphabet’s Google need to provide more information about how their smart-home devices and virtual assistants will support competition and user privacy.

In a letter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee said testimony last week by lawyers for the companies left him with concerns about his dominance of the fast-growing sector.

She asked companies which of their products would support — and which would not — the recently revamped industry coalition known as Matter. The group, which includes Apple, Ikea, and others, aims to allow home-automation gadgets like Internet-connected lights and speakers from different companies to sync with each other.

“How long have you been committed to supporting the Matter interoperability project, and who in your companies is responsible for determining whether to extend the length of your commitment to Matter?” Klobuchar wrote to Amazon and Google.

It also asked companies by July 2 to answer questions about data collection by voice assistants and how the information was used.

Last week’s hearing followed complaints by Sonos and other home-appliance makers about big tech companies allegedly engaging in antitrust tactics to increase their dominance in advertising and other businesses.

Klobuchar noted at the hearing that Amazon’s Echo line had more than 50 percent of the smart-speaker market, while Google’s Nest products accounted for 30 percent.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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