French finance minister takes aim at foreign tech giants, including Apple

in General Discussion
France's finance minister took aim at the dominance of foreign tech giants in the European Union on Tuesday, and specifically named Apple as an example.

Credit: AFP
Credit: AFP

The comments come several months after the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into Apple platforms such as the App Store and Apple Pay.

During a digital competitiveness event on Tuesday, French Minster of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire criticized the concentration of specific markets in the EU where "a small number of very large international platforms are reaping most of the profits."

Le Maire specifically called out Apple's operations in Europe as an example of foreign businesses that are bad for competitiveness in the region, Euractiv reported.

"Apple's market capitalization is now larger than the capitalization of all the CAC 40," Le Maire said, referring to France's stock market index. "It is a competition issue when these companies develop strategies to lock in their users in their services and ecosystems."

The French finance minister also called for the creation of more "European champions" in the technology industry and other sectors.

Apple first came under antitrust scrutiny after musing streaming platform Spotify filed formal complaints about the App Store in the EU. In addition to the probes in Europe, Apple is also facing scrutiny in the U.S., Russia, and elsewhere.


  • Reply 1 of 11
    I think the problem is that people keep thinking of it as "lock in".
    The number of users that move back and forth from iOS to Android prove that it's not "lock in", it's that people find something they like and stay there.

    This isn't something that popped up overnight, Apple have been operating in the EU for over 40 years (nearly its entire 'lifetime'). They either directly invented or developed the paradigms people have become familiar with in this space.

    To talk vaguely about Apple and other tech giants being the benefactor of the rapid development of IT, ignores the reality that it's these companies that have rapidly developed IT, and the likes of Apple have been at this for nearly half a century.

    There is no lack of competition in this space, but one would be insane to think that a person will leave their preferred platform for a 3rd party which doesn't offer the features or value. All that these statements show is that certain governments have a long history of bad policy towards IT, and thus aren't there to reap the rewards of it. The USA, Israel, China, Taiwan and South Korea and the like didn't just happen to stumble into this success.

    And just a side gripe because I can:
    I find it particularly fitting that these statements come from France - France is home to a number of user-hostile IT systems (just try booking a rail ticket), perhaps they'd have more success if they followed the example set by many of their European neighbours.
    edited September 2020 mike1aderuttermagman1979uraharaJWSCMacProbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    I’m not sure how Apple Pay fits in here, I am firmly in the Apple camp, but see no need to use Apple Pay, I use Visa and MasterCard how has Apple Pay supplanted these two juggernauts to the extent they need government intervention?  Apparently adding another choice for people makes them anticompetitive?  Can anyone explain this to me?
  • Reply 3 of 11
    If you’re good at business you succeed. If you’re not then your fellow citizens will choose the best the market has to offer. Would you like to stop competitors from being good at inventing, or do you intend to block your people from buying the best products the market has to offer, Mr Le Maire? No, didn’t think so. So, stop whining, and start helping your own citizens to build a better innovation climate. Nobody’s blocking that, except the people holding the government money. Oh wait, that’s you.
    edited September 2020 cat52JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    S12S12 Posts: 25member
    One word: Airbus.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Another complete fucking idiot politician talking about something he has NO clue about.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Another complete fucking idiot politician talking about something he has NO clue about.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    France only has itself to blame for its stagnant economy and lack of innovation in "IT". The major disincentive to innovation is the lack of mobility in the labor market which hurts everyone. For example, here in the US most employment is "at will". 2 weeks notice and you are out the door by your choice or the company's. In France it can take up to a year ( really!) to leave a company if you are relatively senior - in that time you are a lame duck, basically being paid to do nothing. Then there are very generous unemployment benefits that don't really set you on fire to get a new job.  And of course there is "summer" where the whole country shuts down for 6 weeks.  It's just "slo-mo" compared to the Silicon Valley ethos. 
  • Reply 8 of 11
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,005member
    If Mr French Finance Minister wants to know the real reason there are not more "European Champions" in Hi tech he needs to look in the mirror.  The extreme over regulation of the economy, companies, etc is a disincentive to creating exciting new companies.  While there are some large hi tech European companies, lots of them are started or move to the US where their fortunes are brighter.  Lots of companies in the US are started by non-US who have moved to the US.  
  • Reply 9 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,260member
    S12 said:
    One word: Airbus.
    Second word: French wine. 
  • Reply 10 of 11
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,384member
    Maybe these douchebag politicians should actually put some effort into helping their citizens, instead of these worthless cheap-PR shots at Apple? What "lock-in"? Yes, Apple has an incredible ecosystem, and their products work extremely well together. And consumers CHOOSE Apple products in massive numbers. Nobody has ever had a gun to their heads. And there's a shitload of "competition". Just that theyre all worse products. 
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Interesting how almost no one of the people commenting here goes one step beyond his own prejudices about competition, Europe, US, taxes, labour laws and etc.
    globalization, capitalism, multinationals are good for the society it seems. In any case the benefits of the current situation are reaped by far less than 20% of the people in earth. The rich pay less taxes on avg and their consuming   and their investment gains are subsidized (by central banks)
    Can we believe Honestly that this situation is fair?
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