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Apple and Google AI Integration Sparks Antitrust Concerns

 |  March 19, 2024

Tech giants Apple and Google are reportedly in discussions to integrate Google’s Gemini artificial intelligence engine into the iPhone. The proposed partnership, which could revolutionize the iPhone user experience, has already raised significant concerns among antitrust experts.

The integration of Google’s generative AI models into Apple’s flagship device could signify a seismic shift in the tech industry’s competitive landscape. While generative AI is viewed by many as a potent tool to foster competition in the search market, the reported collaboration between Apple and Google has triggered alarm bells among antitrust circles, per Axios.

Charles Rule, a prominent antitrust expert and former Justice Department official, voiced apprehension regarding the potential ramifications of the partnership. “There’s a real risk that it shuts out all of the competitive promise that generative AI has as a competitor to traditional search,” Rule cautioned.

The reported negotiations between Apple and Google come at a critical juncture, with Google already under intense scrutiny for its lucrative deal with Apple, which sees Google pay billions to be the default search provider on Apple devices. The ongoing federal antitrust case against Google focuses on allegations of monopolistic practices in the search business, with the Apple-Google search agreement occupying a central position in the proceedings.

Related: EU to Investigate Apple and Google’s Compliance with New Tech Rules

In light of these developments, the reported discussions between Apple and Google over integrating Gemini into the iPhone have reignited concerns about anti-competitive behavior in the tech industry. Sacha Haworth, executive director of the Tech Oversight Project, denounced the potential collaboration as “open collusion” aimed at stifling competition and preserving monopoly power.

However, the exact nature of the proposed deal remains shrouded in speculation. It is unclear whether the integration of Gemini into the iPhone would significantly expand upon the existing search deal between Apple and Google or if it would involve leveraging Google’s technology to power discrete applications or experiences on the iPhone.

Apple’s exploration of partnerships with other AI developers, including OpenAI, adds another layer of complexity to the evolving landscape of AI integration in consumer electronics, reported Axios. While Apple has declined to comment on the negotiations, the potential ramifications of such a deal extend far beyond the confines of the tech industry.

With the Biden administration signaling a renewed focus on antitrust enforcement and regulatory scrutiny intensifying around big tech partnerships, the reported talks between Apple and Google underscore the broader implications for competition and innovation in the digital age.

Source: Axios