Indeed, the smartphone wars are over, and Google and Apple won. Now they — and Amazon — are battling to control how you operate within your car. All three see autos as the next great opportunity to reach American consumers, who spend more time in the driver’s seat than anywhere outside their home or workplace. And automakers, after years of floundering to incorporate cutting-edge technologies into cars on their own, are increasingly eager for Silicon Valley’s help — hoping to adopt both its tech and its lucrative business models where consumers pay monthly for ongoing services instead of shelling out for a product just once.
Now, having missed the boat as the tech giants cornered the market on smartphones, some policymakers and regulators believe the battle over connected cars represents a chance to block potential monopolies before they form.
State attorneys general who sued Google in 2020 for monopolizing online search highlighted concerns about the company’s move into autonomous cars in their federal antitrust complaint. Meanwhile, in Europe, the EU’s competition authority has opened a probe into Google’s contracts related to connected cars.
“It’s really hard to remedy anticompetitive conduct five or 10 years down the line,” said Charlotte Slaiman, competition policy director for Public Knowledge. “For many consumers, buying a car is a long-term decision. If a consumer is going to be locked into services with a certain company because they…