Antitrust chief says EU has delayed Big Tech regulation too long

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2021
As the European Union debate threatens to delay Big Tech regulation, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager is urging legislators to get to "80% now" instead of "100% never."

Flag of the European Union
Flag of the European Union


Large-scale legislation aimed at curbing anti-competitive growth of Big Tech firms such as Apple, have been hit by delays caused by internal EU political squabbles. Now ahead of a new forum to discuss the regulations, competition and digital policy chief Margrethe Vestager says the EU should urgently adopt the policies, even if they are not perfect.

According to The Irish Times, Vestager has suggested that the rules could be reviewed and reevaluated once they have been enacted.

"It's important that everyone realises that it is best to get 80 per cent now than 100 per cent never," she said. "This is another way of saying that perfect should not be the enemy of very, very good."

"We won't let another 20 years pass before we may revisit [the legislation]," she continued. "With the parliament and the council's position we can make a very strong rule book that can be enforceable soon."

Vestager was speaking ahead of the FT-ETNO Tech and Politics forum, an online conference, on November 29, 2021. The forum comes after close to a year of debate about the Digital Markets Act (DMA), and the Digital Services Act (DSA).

If enacted, the DMA would mean companies like Apple or Google could be required to cease anti-steering practices, and giving their own products preferential treatment.

Then the DSA would be concerned with how such companies could be held accountable for illegal or harmful content held on their services.

As well as specific requirements for the firms to follow, there would also be a series of potential fines for noncompliance.

The chief obstacle to enacting the legislation appears to be a disagreement over what size companies it should apply to. Some groups want it to address all digital works by any firm, while others propose a financial threshold that would target only the largest companies.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    Not sure why people have latched onto anti-steering as somehow harmful. It's a standard practice throughout the business world. Limiting how companies can provide preferential treatment for their own products makes sense in situations where either consumers would expect neutrality (like search) OR the company itself is claiming that everyone is treated the same (Apple makes this claim with the App Store). 
    sphericmaximarawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 37
    Not sure why people have latched onto anti-steering as somehow harmful. It's a standard practice throughout the business world. Limiting how companies can provide preferential treatment for their own products makes sense in situations where either consumers would expect neutrality (like search) OR the company itself is claiming that everyone is treated the same (Apple makes this claim with the App Store). 
    It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. As mush as people have complained about Apple charing that 15 or 30% in the App Store, all grocery stores charge a shelving fee. And wholesale sellers have to pay money (or discount) for better sell space. That has been deemed legal. The contradictions are rife. 
    dewmemaximaramike1LeoMCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 37
    mark fearing said: It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. 
    IMO, the debate per anti-steering is based on a false pretense: that it's somehow difficult for an iPhone user to be aware that app developers could have an online presence outside the App Store. It just seems silly for the government to act like people in 2021 aren't aware the internet exists or that commerce takes place on the internet too. 
    LeoMCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 37
    Not sure why people have latched onto anti-steering as somehow harmful. It's a standard practice throughout the business world. Limiting how companies can provide preferential treatment for their own products makes sense in situations where either consumers would expect neutrality (like search) OR the company itself is claiming that everyone is treated the same (Apple makes this claim with the App Store). 
    It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. As mush as people have complained about Apple charing that 15 or 30% in the App Store, all grocery stores charge a shelving fee. And wholesale sellers have to pay money (or discount) for better sell space. That has been deemed legal. The contradictions are rife. 
    The thing is though, Apple is the sole provider of apps, there is no competing stores like there is in the retail space.

    Walmart has Target and numerous other stores they compete with... The App Store has none...

    Some may argue that the Play Store is competition, but how can you really say that when you need a completely different device in order to access it?

    iOS competes with Android, the App Store does not compete with the Play Store, and that's where the comparison to retail falls apart.

    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.
    edited November 2021 williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamelijahg
  • Reply 5 of 37
    mark fearing said: It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. 
    IMO, the debate per anti-steering is based on a false pretense: that it's somehow difficult for an iPhone user to be aware that app developers could have an online presence outside the App Store. It just seems silly for the government to act like people in 2021 aren't aware the internet exists or that commerce takes place on the internet too. 
    Are you, and were you prior to being asked this question aware that YouTube charges $15.99 in-app but $11.99 on their website?

    Do you think it's fair that they can't tell you there is a discount available outside of the app?

    And if you weren't aware and have been paying $15.99 in-app instead of $11.99, do you feel you've been financially harmed as a customer?

    It's about being able to tell consumers that there's another option available that they likely aren't aware of.
    williamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 6 of 37
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,400member
    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.

    You might be surprised at the myriad local laws that prevent exactly that. In my country thee are all sorts of regulations about how close newsagents and pharmacies can be etc. and the list is very long.
    dewmewilliamlondonmaximara
  • Reply 7 of 37
    entropys said:
    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.

    You might be surprised at the myriad local laws that prevent exactly that. In my country thee are all sorts of regulations about how close newsagents and pharmacies can be etc. and the list is very long.
    That's something that is country-specific though... in the US, you can literally have a Walgreens and CVS on opposing street corners.

    It also isn't a case of the store telling another company that they can't build their own store.
    edited November 2021 williamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 8 of 37
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,400member
    entropys said:
    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.

    You might be surprised at the myriad local laws that prevent exactly that. In my country thee are all sorts of regulations about how close newsagents and pharmacies can be etc. and the list is very long.
    That's something that is country-specific though... in the US, you can literally have a Walgreens and CVS on opposing street corners.

    It also isn't a case of the store telling another company that they can't build their store.
    That would be Good! That said such laws aren’t really good though. It means higher prices for consumers, and endless opportunities for graft for bureaucrats and local government politicians.

    in the App Store case, I doubt it would do anything at the consumer end to remove the selling restriction, beyond increasing bad actor opportunities. It would not lower retail price for example. 

    Anyway, this is just another example of the EU attacking colonial businesses that are better at making stuff than the sclerotic regulatory environment in the EU can.
    edited November 2021 JWSCmaximara
  • Reply 9 of 37
    dantheman827 said: Are you, and were you prior to being asked this question aware that YouTube charges $15.99 in-app but $11.99 on their website?

    Do you think it's fair that they can't tell you there is a discount available outside of the app?
    Yes, I think it's fair that they can't tell you there is a discount available outside the app because my iPhone has access to the internet and web sites. I'm old enough to remember the days when software could only be purchased at brick/mortar stores or through the mail. The price through the mail might not be the same as the brick/mortar stores, and the brick/mortar stores might have different prices too. Nobody at the time considered that to be an unfair situation as a consumer. It was up to you to educate yourself on the WHERE and HOW MUCH part of the shopping experience. 
    williamlondonLeoMCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 37
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,357member
    mark fearing said: It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. 
    IMO, the debate per anti-steering is based on a false pretense: that it's somehow difficult for an iPhone user to be aware that app developers could have an online presence outside the App Store. It just seems silly for the government to act like people in 2021 aren't aware the internet exists or that commerce takes place on the internet too. 
    I think the concept of anti steering is wrong. If Apple is doing the work and marketing to bring the customers in, why should they allow venders they convinced to use their services cut them out of the profits. If these companies are marketing and acquiring their own customers, they will be on their website or platform already and automatically pay apple nothing. 

    The others are there because of Apple and they get to ride on Apple’s trusted name. 
    williamlondonKTRLeoMCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 37
    Not sure why people have latched onto anti-steering as somehow harmful. It's a standard practice throughout the business world. Limiting how companies can provide preferential treatment for their own products makes sense in situations where either consumers would expect neutrality (like search) OR the company itself is claiming that everyone is treated the same (Apple makes this claim with the App Store). 
    It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. As mush as people have complained about Apple charing that 15 or 30% in the App Store, all grocery stores charge a shelving fee. And wholesale sellers have to pay money (or discount) for better sell space. That has been deemed legal. The contradictions are rife. 


    Some may argue that the Play Store is competition, but how can you really say that when you need a completely different device in order to access it?

    ….
    If everything would be the same - would the competition even make sense? 

    By your logic, competing services should have all the same parameters. Then why Airlines compete with trains? And why trains compete with cars? How Macs compete with WinPCs?  Even though they are different.
    Because they compete also by being different (by at least some parameter).
    Do you expect Apple Store would have had such a value for so many people if it would be the same as Play Store, using the same devices, security features etc?
    How Macs compete with WinPCs? 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 37
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,188member
    Not sure why people have latched onto anti-steering as somehow harmful. It's a standard practice throughout the business world. Limiting how companies can provide preferential treatment for their own products makes sense in situations where either consumers would expect neutrality (like search) OR the company itself is claiming that everyone is treated the same (Apple makes this claim with the App Store). 
    It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. As mush as people have complained about Apple charing that 15 or 30% in the App Store, all grocery stores charge a shelving fee. And wholesale sellers have to pay money (or discount) for better sell space. That has been deemed legal. The contradictions are rife. 
    The thing is though, Apple is the sole provider of apps, there is no competing stores like there is in the retail space.

    Walmart has Target and numerous other stores they compete with... The App Store has none...

    Some may argue that the Play Store is competition, but how can you really say that when you need a completely different device in order to access it?

    iOS competes with Android, the App Store does not compete with the Play Store, and that's where the comparison to retail falls apart.

    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.

    Are you saying the iPhone is a city? That's not an accurate analogy because anyone can build their own smartphone and in essence create their own city. The mega behemoth Amazon tried it but gave up almost immediately. But Apple actually did it - successfully, and did it through massively expensive and time consuming investments by Apple. Why should Apple's massive investment be taken over and nationalized by governments and shared with companies who aren't willing to take on the kind of challenges that Apple has succeeded at only through great expense to themselves and their shareholders?

    Too hard? Too much work? Too expensive? Apple said "no" to all of these. They did it. Then Android copied them. Amazon whiffed. Nobody else even stepped up to the plate.

    Unfortunately for Apple, free enterprise, and innovators in general Apple's efforts will not go unpunished. I guess we are living in a world of lazy followers who don't have the intelligence or fortitude to take on big challenges, take big risks, or establish new markets on their own and who would rather glom on to the work of others. This is basic human nature. Why invent a wheel when you can borrow or steal one from someone else, or worse yet, force a bureaucrat to steal it for you?

    Yeah, I get it. It takes a lot of work to create something of the magnitude and scope of the iPhone/iPad and its App Store. But it's never been a case of competitors not being able to go head-to-head against Apple and beat them at their own game on a level playing field. It's simply that they don't want to go head-to-head against Apple and try to beat them at their own game on a level playing field. Or even invent a new playing field. No amount of government wrangling or political posturing is going to change the "boo hoo - it's too hard and it's too much work" reality of the situation.

    I'm just grateful there are a small handful of people and innovators in every generation who are not content to be hangers-on and followers and are willing to blaze new trails even when their efforts are not fully protected or sufficiently rewarded.
    williamlondon80s_Apple_GuyfoadmrochesterLeoMCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 37
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,908member
    How is forcing an homogeneous, competitive market model across all platforms not anti-competitive?
    edited November 2021 williamlondondewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 37
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,541member
    mark fearing said: It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. 
    IMO, the debate per anti-steering is based on a false pretense: that it's somehow difficult for an iPhone user to be aware that app developers could have an online presence outside the App Store. It just seems silly for the government to act like people in 2021 aren't aware the internet exists or that commerce takes place on the internet too. 
    Are you, and were you prior to being asked this question aware that YouTube charges $15.99 in-app but $11.99 on their website?

    Do you think it's fair that they can't tell you there is a discount available outside of the app?

    And if you weren't aware and have been paying $15.99 in-app instead of $11.99, do you feel you've been financially harmed as a customer?

    It's about being able to tell consumers that there's another option available that they likely aren't aware of.
    This is a non- issue. In order to sign up for YouTube Premium, one must sign up on their website. Using a computer or mobile device.  Google can inform the new subscribers of its cost on its website, when the new subscriber signs up. Plus a subscriber must provide a Gmail address, where Google can also inform its subscribers of the cost of their various plans. Google do not need to inform any of their YouTube subscribers, of any rates changes, in their free app. 

    I doubt very much that any iOS users are not aware of the extra cost to pay for a YouTube subscription using the iOS app, instead of a going to google website. One can not sign up for YouTube Premium using the free iOS app. One must already had gone to the website to sign up for an account, before one an use the iOS app.  And this would be true for nearly all subscription services. Netflix has my email address and sends me email all the time, about any changes in their policy or rates. No reason why Google can't do the same. 


    edited November 2021 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 37
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,541member

    Not sure why people have latched onto anti-steering as somehow harmful. It's a standard practice throughout the business world. Limiting how companies can provide preferential treatment for their own products makes sense in situations where either consumers would expect neutrality (like search) OR the company itself is claiming that everyone is treated the same (Apple makes this claim with the App Store). 
    It's only weird when you look at the retail and sales environment as a whole. For instance, within Walmart, I'd not expect them to have posters for Target prices. Or at a restaurant they don't also show you the menu and prices from the restaurant across the street. But I get that this digital market is 'different'. But I think it's very much a debate about what is different with it. As mush as people have complained about Apple charing that 15 or 30% in the App Store, all grocery stores charge a shelving fee. And wholesale sellers have to pay money (or discount) for better sell space. That has been deemed legal. The contradictions are rife. 
    The thing is though, Apple is the sole provider of apps, there is no competing stores like there is in the retail space.

    Walmart has Target and numerous other stores they compete with... The App Store has none...

    Some may argue that the Play Store is competition, but how can you really say that when you need a completely different device in order to access it?

    iOS competes with Android, the App Store does not compete with the Play Store, and that's where the comparison to retail falls apart.

    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.
    Your comparison is way off. 

    Apple do not sell iOS. Apple sells iDevices and the only way to use iOS, is to buy/use an iDevice. iDevices have plenty of completion from other mobile device makers like Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, LG, Sony, Oppo, Amazon, etc. The "city" IS NOT iOS. The "city" is the market of all mobile devices and there are plenty of apps stores in the "city" made up of all mobile devices. Apple is not the sole provider of apps. The Apple App Store has numerous other app stores to complete with. Over 70% of mobile users  in this "city", are not shopping at the Apple App Store, to get their apps. 

    Forcing Apple to allow another app store in iOS would be like forcing Walmart to allow Target to open a Target Store, inside a Walmart. Target can not tell Walmart they want to open a Target Store inside their Walmart. A Walmart Store is Walmart property. iOS is Apple IP.

    When I enter a Walmart, I do not expect to find Target products for sale on their shelves. If I want to buy Target products, I have to go to a different store in the "city". Consumers that buys iDevices know that the only way to install apps in their devices, is to use the Apple App Store. It's not a secret. There is no deception on Apple part. And yet consumers still buy/use iDevices and often pay a premium to do so.

    iDevice users know that they will not be getting their apps from the Google Play Store or any other app store. Apple iOS users being surprised that they can only get their apps from the Apple App Store would be like Walmart shoppers being surprised that they can't buy Target products when shopping at a Walmart. If Walmart shoppers wants to buy Target products, they would shop at a Target. And if iOS users wants to shop at the Google Play Store, they would be using an Android device.   

    Epic made the same mistake you are making in their lawsuit claiming Apple have a "monopoly", by thinking that iOS is a "relevant market' and some how subject to anti-trust monopoly laws. How can Apple NOT have a monopoly with iOS, when the ONLY way to be an iOS consumer, is to buy an Apple iDevice? iDevices and iOS are far from being "monopolies" when one uses the correct "relevant market".   

    A Federal Judge has already ruled that Apple "monopoly" with iOS and their Apple App Store can not be subject to anti-trust laws, with your way of thinking. If you want to convince us otherwise, you need to try harder and ...... Think Different.

    https://www.lit-antitrust.shearman.com/Northern-District-Of-California-Finds-That-Antitrust-Claims-Against-Technology-Platform
    edited November 2021 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 37
    KTRKTR Posts: 229member
    entropys said:
    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.

    You might be surprised at the myriad local laws that prevent exactly that. In my country thee are all sorts of regulations about how close newsagents and pharmacies can be etc. and the list is very long.
    IMO, that is the governments controlling our lives 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 37
    dantheman827 said: Are you, and were you prior to being asked this question aware that YouTube charges $15.99 in-app but $11.99 on their website?

    Do you think it's fair that they can't tell you there is a discount available outside of the app?
    Yes, I think it's fair that they can't tell you there is a discount available outside the app because my iPhone has access to the internet and web sites. I'm old enough to remember the days when software could only be purchased at brick/mortar stores or through the mail. The price through the mail might not be the same as the brick/mortar stores, and the brick/mortar stores might have different prices too. Nobody at the time considered that to be an unfair situation as a consumer. It was up to you to educate yourself on the WHERE and HOW MUCH part of the shopping experience. 
    Right.  Heck, even in businesses that had/have 'will match competitor's price' you had to have evidence (ie had to go out and find an ad) showing the lower price.  This we need to be spoon feed stuff because we are lazy nonsense needs to stop.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 37
    KTR said:
    entropys said:
    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.

    You might be surprised at the myriad local laws that prevent exactly that. In my country thee are all sorts of regulations about how close newsagents and pharmacies can be etc. and the list is very long.
    IMO, that is the governments controlling our lives 
    Actually some of those local laws were written with good intentions but haven't updated to keep up with changes in the marketplace.  Las Cruces, NM had a section where the zoning had been effectively nil and it, to put it mildly, looked like a disaster area.  You would have nice home next to a business run out of a trailer which was next to an abandoned lot.
    edited November 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 37
    The thing is though, Apple is the sole provider of apps, there is no competing stores like there is in the retail space.

    Walmart has Target and numerous other stores they compete with... The App Store has none...

    Some may argue that the Play Store is competition, but how can you really say that when you need a completely different device in order to access it?

    iOS competes with Android, the App Store does not compete with the Play Store, and that's where the comparison to retail falls apart.

    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.
    While true the App Store is the only way to get an Application, which Apple offers for free by the way, payments and accounts can be offered outside the store. so a developer/consumer has choice.
    I think we can all agree that you cannot expect Walmart to offer Target Pricing so the consumer can decide to go to Target in case it is cheaper. However Apple is now obliged to make that happen, so cased closed one would think, oh no .... The true gist of the story here is that Europe is jealous of US Tech, and is grasping at straws to get the EU tech industry back in the game ...


    entropyswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 37
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,036member
    temperor said:
    The thing is though, Apple is the sole provider of apps, there is no competing stores like there is in the retail space.

    Walmart has Target and numerous other stores they compete with... The App Store has none...

    Some may argue that the Play Store is competition, but how can you really say that when you need a completely different device in order to access it?

    iOS competes with Android, the App Store does not compete with the Play Store, and that's where the comparison to retail falls apart.

    Walmart can't tell Target "You can't build your store here because we have one of ours in the city already.", but Apple is doing exactly that with the App Store.
    While true the App Store is the only way to get an Application, which Apple offers for free by the way
    It's free except for all the ways by which you pay for it.
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