EU to probe market control of Facebook, Google, other tech firms

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2015
The European Commission is beginning a probe into how major technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google exploit their market power, a move that could potentially lead to new regulations, a report said on Tuesday.




Reuters indicated that the initiative is part of the "Digital Single Market Strategy" announced today by Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, intended to help European online businesses compete with American rivals, which control much of the global market. In the process the Commission is expected to update European copyright laws and make it easier for companies to deliver packages across international borders, among wider policy changes.

Some areas of concern with big technology businesses are reportedly whether they are fully transparent about how search results are displayed, and whether they promote their own services to the point of hurting others.

The two leading powers in the European Union, France and Germany, have asked for regulation of "essential digital platforms" that undergird much of the Internet. Google, for instance, is the world's leading search provider, and is usually the default option in Web browsers.

Ansip recently told the Wall Street Journal last month that the Commission is not disproportionately targeting U.S. companies in its antitrust investigations. Google has been hit by multiple antitrust allegations, but of the 81 companies subject to Commission antitrust decisions between 2010 and 2014, only 21 were American.

"The American firms are allowed to have dominant positions, even monopolies here in the E.U., according to our regulations," he said.

There is no indication yet that Apple might be subject to the new probe, despite iTunes' control of music downloads and the App Store being the only source of iOS apps.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,724member
    FaceBook, Google? Amazon?
    Here's what I don't understand: where was this concern a decade ago when Microsoft Windows ruled the desktop and for a while, the browser market ("best viewed on Internet Explorer")?

    And if the situation were reversed, and say, a company like Nokia had dominant position in Europe, would they lift a finger to help American firms compete there? Or is this just blatant protectionism?
  • Reply 2 of 18
    ingelaingela Posts: 217member
    Did anyone not see this coming? Surprised it took this long.Did the MS monopoly teach us nothing? They single handidly retarded innovation until the internet was able to allow companies like Apple and Google to leap-frog them once MS was not an essential roadblock.

    Google and Amazon haves become a monopolistic behemoths without competition because of their sheer size. Do we need the Walmart-MS-isation that monopolizes markets solely by virtue of their sheer size?
  • Reply 3 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,580member

    Genius. Just genius. Evil...but genius.

  • Reply 4 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,661member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Here's what I don't understand: where was this concern a decade ago when Microsoft Windows ruled the desktop and for a while, the browser market ("best viewed on Internet Explorer")?

    Err... I think you must have missed a few headlines.  Microsoft have been fined billions of euros over anti-competitive behaviour.

     

    BBC: Microsoft fined by EU for not abiding by anti-competitive sanctions

    BBC: Microsoft fined by EU over Internet Explorer

    BBC: Microsoft fined by EU over anti-competitive behaviour (including Windows Media Player)

  • Reply 5 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,891member
    FaceBook, Google? Amazon?
    Here's what I don't understand: where was this concern a decade ago when Microsoft Windows ruled the desktop and for a while, the browser market ("best viewed on Internet Explorer")?

    And if the situation were reversed, and say, a company like Nokia had dominant position in Europe, would they lift a finger to help American firms compete there? Or is this just blatant protectionism?

    I would not be surprised. The French have been known to kill English sheep being imported.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/17/world/french-protest-of-sheep-imports-turns-ugly.html
  • Reply 6 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,891member
    crowley wrote: »
    Err... I think you must have missed a few headlines.  Microsoft have been fined billions of euros over anti-competitive behaviour.

    BBC: Microsoft fined by EU for not abiding by anti-competitive sanctions
    BBC: Microsoft fined by EU over Internet Explorer
    BBC: Microsoft fined by EU over Windows Media Player

    Out of curiosity the EU ever go after the BBC Micro, Sinclair or Allan Sugar for anything like that (I already know about sheep!)? I would imagine the French would have blocked all of these given half a chance.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,661member

    ^ None of those ever had a monopoly, so I'm not sure how they could abuse a monopolistic position.

  • Reply 8 of 18
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,632member
    Everyone gets investigated. Woo Hoo!
  • Reply 9 of 18
    macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,765member
    crowley wrote: »
    Err... I think you must have missed a few headlines.  Microsoft have been fined billions of euros over anti-competitive behaviour.

    Out of curiosity the EU ever go after the BBC Micro, Sinclair or Allan Sugar for anything like that (I already know about sheep!)? I would imagine the French would have blocked all of these given half a chance.

    It Gauls the French that the rest of the world exists... almost as much as it crêpes them out that English-speaking countries had to save their incompetent butts from the Huns twice in the last century.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,661member
    ^ tbh, I think the French are over it. It's the English-speaking world that seems to have the hang-up.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    I for one would never buy an app from a store not protected by Apple. There would have to be safeguards guaranteeing said apps are not malicious, Is the EU willing to pay the alternative app stores to enforce security? No, ah right I didn't think so. EU can go screw itself. It didn't really do a great job of regulating the Euro did it?
  • Reply 12 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,891member
    It Gauls the French that the rest of the world exists... almost as much as it crêpes them out that English-speaking countries had to save their incompetent butts from the Huns twice in the last century.

    LOL. Très drôle
  • Reply 13 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,891member
    crowley wrote: »
    ^ tbh, I think the French are over it. It's the English-speaking world that seems to have the hang-up.

    I'm sure you correct. Cough cough ... :D
  • Reply 14 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,661member
    Cough cough?

    Wtf is this?

    Nudge nudge wink wink say no more?
  • Reply 15 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,898member
    Who you gonna call when you can't win at competition?

    Protectionism.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,182member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post



    ^ tbh, I think the French are over it. It's the English-speaking world that seems to have the hang-up.



    I have seen litle evidence for that in my travels. The French need to grow up and get over themselves.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    fotoformatfotoformat Posts: 281member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post



    Cough cough?



    Wtf is this?



    Nudge nudge wink wink say no more?

     

    Calme... ze beeg Yankees tend to forget ze "Vente de la Louisiane".

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

     



    I have seen litle evidence for that in my travels. The French need to grow up and get over themselves.


     

    Typical small island mentality... n'est pas?

  • Reply 18 of 18
    nick29nick29 Posts: 111member
    So who is going to probe how the EU exploits its power? Bureaucratic a-holes.
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