European lawmakers invite Tim Cook to tech power hearing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 23
The European Parliament has asked for Apple CEO Tim Cook to join other major tech CEOs to a hearing on February 1, with lawmakers aiming to discuss changes that could curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook on the continent.




Set to take place on February 1 in Brussels, the European Parliament has sent out invitations to the four major tech firms to attend the hearing. The meeting with be related to proposals by the European Commission to increase competition in the tech sector, as well as to reduce the impact of fake news and other harmful content.

"The purpose of the planned hearing is to have an exchange with the chief executive officers of the four globally leading platform companies to learn about their current business models and future concepts as they face the challenges of altering market conditions," an invitation seen by Reuters reads.

The invitations are also intended "for the CEOs only" and not subordinates or other executives, as the event "will contribute to preparing the members of the European Parliament for the upcoming discussions on potential new regulation for the digital sector."

The date isn't set in stone, as lawmakers are apparently willing to change it to another in February or March to meet the needs of the CEO group. This may not be enough to encourage their attendance, as report sources doubt the invitations will be accepted.

The hearing, if it takes place, could be seen as a rerun of activity in the United States in July 2020, when Cook and other tech CEOs were summoned to a U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee to look into tech company dominance and competition.

The European Commission introduced two pieces of draft legislation in December that would impact tech companies working within the European Union, with hefty fines issued for non-compliant activity. This includes the Digital Markets Act, which could prompt Apple to make big changes to the App Store, especially in how it markets its own apps to consumers.

Vocal Apple critic Facebook has expressed hope that the draft proposals will push back against Apple and set boundaries, suggesting in December Apple used its platform control to "harm developers and consumers."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    mobirdmobird Posts: 621member
    All 4 of the mentioned CEO's should provide a unified letter of intent to withdraw operations entirely from the EU...

    Let the EU Tech sector step in and provide like products and services etc. You know the "competition".

    Oh that's right, there are none comparable...
    edited January 23 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,720member
    mobird said:
    All 4 of the mentioned CEO's should provide a unified letter of intent to withdraw operations entirely from the EU...

    Let the EU Tech sector step in and provide like products and services etc. You know the "competition".

    Oh that's right, there are none comparable...
    There would be pretty soon if the massively powerful competition removed itself in a dramatic moment of self-sabotage.  I don't think for a second this would happen, but I think it would have a much more positive effect on the EU than you seem to believe.
    rundhvidbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 3 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,720member
    I'm just imagining the amazing feeling there would be in cleansing the continent of Google, Facebook and Amazon.  It'd be glorious.  Losing iPhones would be a small price to pay.
    DogpersonOferrundhvid
  • Reply 4 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    mobird said:
    All 4 of the mentioned CEO's should provide a unified letter of intent to withdraw operations entirely from the EU...

    Let the EU Tech sector step in and provide like products and services etc. You know the "competition".

    Oh that's right, there are none comparable...
    That is utter nonsense. 

    The EU already had ALL of the basic services before these companies came to the forefront. That happened because EU users used switched to their services. Mostly being free, which helped their cause.

    If those four pulled out of the EU, there would not be a massive uptake of VPN usage as EU users scrambled to connect to their old services. They would migrate to other services (be they EU based or not). 
    edited January 23 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 36
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 832member
    I can't imagine CEOs will be useful. They're the CEOs, not policy makers except as part of a team making policy within their organizations. 

    There's this old idea of the four Ds: Data, Diagnosis, Direction, Do it. 

    I really doubt the EU have much of an idea of what they're doing.

    The Issues (data) describing the problems are different for different companies. Facebook presents issues different from Google, Google from Apple, Apple from Amazon, and each have tentacles out in many areas, each presenting different issues. 

    Then, to what extent are these companies strictly American companies. Sure, they're incorporated here, and have to abide by American law, here, but are in truth international and scope and must also abide by local laws wherever they do business. And their products and services are international, so they must guided by their customers needs in each locale. 

    I would expect the EU have less knowledge and less interest in their counterparts in other countries than these companies have. 
  • Reply 6 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    larryjw said:
    I can't imagine CEOs will be useful. They're the CEOs, not policy makers except as part of a team making policy within their organizations. 

    There's this old idea of the four Ds: Data, Diagnosis, Direction, Do it. 

    I really doubt the EU have much of an idea of what they're doing.

    The Issues (data) describing the problems are different for different companies. Facebook presents issues different from Google, Google from Apple, Apple from Amazon, and each have tentacles out in many areas, each presenting different issues. 

    Then, to what extent are these companies strictly American companies. Sure, they're incorporated here, and have to abide by American law, here, but are in truth international and scope and must also abide by local laws wherever they do business. And their products and services are international, so they must guided by their customers needs in each locale. 

    I would expect the EU have less knowledge and less interest in their counterparts in other countries than these companies have. 
    The EU has a very good idea of what it's doing and has carried out consultation with all the major parties involved. It has also had a consultation phase with EU citizens. 

    This isn't something new they are pulling out of the hat. It is a proposed updating of existing legislation to bring it into line with current realities. It won't satisfy everyone because that is impossible anyway. 

    AI had a piece on the major proposals:

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/07/06/european-union-targets-tech-giants-with-new-tax-and-content-rules

    Listening to these CEOs and informing them of where things could be heading is a wise move.

    I would prefer it if there was an option of videocall participation but for these CEOs travelling isn't that much of a big deal even in COVID times. 
    rundhvid
  • Reply 7 of 36
    Like being “invited” to your own hanging. How thoughtful!
    edited January 23 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 36
    seanjseanj Posts: 255member
    “on the continent” is a highly inaccurate phrase. There are plenty of countries in Europe that aren’t part of the EU and over whom it has no control.
    Confusing the EU with Europe is like referring to the USA when talking about North America; which I would imagine would annoy the Canadians and Mexicans.
  • Reply 9 of 36
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,812member
    I would use the word "social influence" rather than "power." That's what the lawmakers really want. They already have plenty of power and the ability to wield it in spectacularly crude and ineffectual ways, as they have demonstrated on numerous occasions in the past.

    These large tech giants have figured out how to use their technology, exploit network effects, and come up with innovative ways of connecting with their customers in ways that grow the tech giants' influence exponentially while driving massive profitability. The tech giants have succeeded at unprecedented levels driven by a desire for financial riches. At the same time political, civic, and social organizations have lagged behind miserably and a lot of folks aren't really sure anymore what their leaders and lawmakers are driven by.

    If this is a competition for influence the winners are obvious. The tech giants are apparently selling exactly what their customers crave while the political, civic, and social players are stumbling around in the dark. Rather than trying to drag the tech giants down into their hole these political, civic, and social leaders should be finding ways to work with them, learn from them, and see how they too can tap into the same technology and techniques to regain the influence they have lost to the tech giants without disenfranchising their "customers." 
  • Reply 10 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,720member
    seanj said:
    “on the continent” is a highly inaccurate phrase. There are plenty of countries in Europe that aren’t part of the EU and over whom it has no control.
    Confusing the EU with Europe is like referring to the USA when talking about North America; which I would imagine would annoy the Canadians and Mexicans.
    If you curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook in the EU then you also curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook on the continent.  That's not inaccurate at all.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    crowley said:
    I'm just imagining the amazing feeling there would be in cleansing the continent of Google, Facebook and Amazon.  It'd be glorious.  Losing iPhones would be a small price to pay.

    Losing access to Apple kit would be a small price to pay for seening the back of Amazon, Google and Facebook (hopefully twitter as well).
    We can all dream can't we eh? Those companies (amazon etc) are leeches on society. I'm sure that they'll have dirt on all the people in the EU making these decisions. We all have something we'd rather not be made public in the gutter press/Tv channels/websites
  • Reply 12 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    It's worth pointing out that I know more people who have some kind of resentment about big tech who live in the U.S than who live in the EU.

    In fact I've only known one tech person who was slightly hostile to one of them (in this case towards Google). He was a Linux person (managing security in a critical infrastructure Data Center but didn't use Apple or Facebook (except for WhatsApp). 

    I'm happy with the balance of Amazon, Apple and Google but stay away from Facebook (except for WhatsApp). I do think their ability to abuse their respective positions should be limited by legislation though. 

    Of course I also use Telegram, Line, Viber etc in IM and cloud services from Google, Microsoft and Huawei. 

    I don't know if my situation is representative of other people in the EU and if it is, perhaps the EU's strong data protection laws play a part in that perception. 



  • Reply 13 of 36
    The beatings will continue until EU competitiveness improves.
    robin huberentropys
  • Reply 14 of 36
    Tech giants have too much influence in society as a whole, they can silence you in a heart bit. So yes, dismantle them or chop chop them up to pieces. 
  • Reply 15 of 36
    They allowed Nokia to be sold to Microsoft, and now they’re complaining about lack of competition?

    As for fake news, create their own version of the Great Firewall of China and block Facebook and Twitter.  Then, do what Qatar did and create their own version of Al Jazeera.

    The ideal of Freedom of Speech on the internet has fallen to clickbait, BS and greed.  Mainstream media isn’t far behind social media with garbage journalism.  They frequently repeat BS without verification.

    Apple created Apple News to try to help combat the problem with little success. Everyone else on the list disparages fake news but profits from it, asking them makes no sense.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    seanjseanj Posts: 255member
    crowley said:
    seanj said:
    “on the continent” is a highly inaccurate phrase. There are plenty of countries in Europe that aren’t part of the EU and over whom it has no control.
    Confusing the EU with Europe is like referring to the USA when talking about North America; which I would imagine would annoy the Canadians and Mexicans.
    If you curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook in the EU then you also curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook on the continent.  That's not inaccurate at all.
    So if you curtail the power of those companies in Canada and Mexico then that will curtail their power in the USA? Because that is the equivalent of the nonsense you’re spouting.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    seanjseanj Posts: 255member
    The beatings will continue until EU competitiveness improves.
    It won’t, by its very nature the EU is uncompetitive thanks to the overly bureaucratic control of Brussels.
  • Reply 18 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,720member
    seanj said:
    crowley said:
    seanj said:
    “on the continent” is a highly inaccurate phrase. There are plenty of countries in Europe that aren’t part of the EU and over whom it has no control.
    Confusing the EU with Europe is like referring to the USA when talking about North America; which I would imagine would annoy the Canadians and Mexicans.
    If you curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook in the EU then you also curtail the power of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook on the continent.  That's not inaccurate at all.
    So if you curtail the power of those companies in Canada and Mexico then that will curtail their power in the USA? Because that is the equivalent of the nonsense you’re spouting.
    No?  Europe is not equivalent to the USA.  The former is a continent the latter is a country within a continent.

    If you curtail the power of those companies in Canada and Mexico then that will curtail their power in North America, yes.  Though to a lesser degree than the EU within Europe because the USA is the dominant economic power in North America whereas the EU is the dominant power in Europe.

    I'm not sure why you're taking exception to this, let alone why you're accusing me of spouting nonsense about simple economic truths.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 19 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    seanj said:
    The beatings will continue until EU competitiveness improves.
    It won’t, by its very nature the EU is uncompetitive thanks to the overly bureaucratic control of Brussels.
    Uncompetitive? 

    What do you mean? 

    Competitive with what? It's interior market alone gives it the kind of commercial clout the rest of the world envies.




  • Reply 20 of 36
    Facebook is getting so good at cutting its nose to spite its face that it reminds me of everything bad about the Trump administration. Which is to say... EVERYTHING. We all saw how that turned out. Zuck should take a cue from Steve and get his head out of his ass before the universe humbles him. History tends to repeat itself. Tend your own fire, Zuck, lest it burn you. 
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