A Call to Act before It’s Too Late

Despite having all the intelligence at their disposal, human beings have failed rather sensationally at not making mistakes. This dynamic has already been reinforced quite a few times throughout our history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the most fitting way possible, and we’ll do so by bringing dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly concealed our many shortcomings. Now, the utopia you would expect from such a development did arrive, but at the same time, it was also pretty short-lived. Talk about what caused this sudden death, the answer has to keep technology at the heart of everything. You see, the moment technology got its layered nature to take over the scene, it allowed every individual an unprecedented chance to fulfil their ulterior motives at the expense of others’ well-being. In case this somehow didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner soon began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to square one. After spending a lengthy spell in the wilderness, though, it seems like the regulatory contingent is finally ready for a meaningful comeback. The same has become more and more evident over the recent past, and truth be told, a recently-extended warning should do a lot to make that trend bigger and better moving forward.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has written a formal letter to the country’s top antitrust enforcers — Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, and Jonathan Kanter, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, urging them to take a closer look at  Google, Amazon, and Apple’s expansion into the automotive industry. As per Warren, the stated three companies are making a rather unfair use of their positions in mobile and cloud computing to become dominant players within the sector. In order to back her point, the senator even presented an example, which talked to these Big Tech giants employing what she called “all or nothing” bundling tactics. For instance, she pointed at how it’s impossible to buy individual services in terms of the Android Automotive solution. So, if a car owner just wants Google Maps, they’ll have no option but to buy the whole package, something that promotes the company’s wider visibility, and instantly puts other automotive players at an enormous disadvantage.

“I’ve been ringing the alarm about Big Tech’s growing dominance across our economy, and their expansion into the automotive industry is the latest effort to stomp out competition in yet another sector,” said Warren. “This has potential consequences for American workers, developers, and consumers — and could lead to less innovation and higher prices.”

Warren’s concerns about an anti-competitive environment are well-founded, as several industry analysts expect Google’s Android Automotive Operating System (AAOS) to be in 70% of the new cars by 2028. Beyond their active consolidation of the automotive space, Warren also touched upon how these companies can collect data from our cars to shape their own widely-known autonomous vehicle projects. With all that personal data at their disposal, they’ll be much better positioned to serve our needs than other companies, an aspect that can really hurt the sector’s competitive health over a long-term period. Unsurprisingly though, for now, the companies in question have denied the existence of such hostile plans.

When quizzed regarding Warren’s letter, a spokesperson from Google said:

“Carmakers choose to partner with tech companies to improve the experience for their customers. There is enormous competition in the connected car space – including Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Cerence, TomTom, ChargePoint and many others – and carmakers continue to invest in their in-house solutions simultaneously. At Google, our goal is to enable carmakers and developers across the auto industry to develop software solutions at scale.”

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