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Top senator fears Big Tech at home as Alexa, Nest dominate

WASHINGTON, Jun 15 (Reuters) – US Congress on Tuesday picked up another area that big tech companies – in this case, Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and alphabet (GoogL.O) Google – dominates, this time in smart home devices, where it competes against smaller companies like speaker maker Sonos Inc (SONO.O).

The hearing comes at a time of great concern for stricter antitrust enforcement, largely centered on the largest US tech companies. One result was a series of investigations and several federal and state lawsuits against Google and Facebook as well long list of antitrust laws.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee, hopes to act before the existing tech giants, in this case Amazon and Google, establish themselves as unassailable.

In the smart speaker market, she cited data showing that Amazon had a 53 percent market share, while Google had 31 percent.

“This is an area where we can look ahead and see around the corner and not react years later,” she said, noting that people are buying everything from smart speakers to smart door locks and more. “We know this is a growing market.”

Smart home technology can be intelligent loudspeakers such as Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Nest, security systems or televisions.

Witnesses include Ryan McCrate, Associate General Counsel of Amazon, and Wilson White, Senior Public Policy Director of Google, and Eddie Lazarus, Chief Legal Officer of Sonos.

Last year, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told a congressional committee that Google and Amazon were using their dominance in search and online retailing to subsidize the smart speaker market and possibly dominate the market for other smart home devices .

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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