Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are gain under greater anti-trust scrutiny but this time in the EU. Reuters reports that the EU is pushing for harsher laws to limit the influence and power of Silicon Valley’s four tech companies in the region and threatens that non-compliance will result in a fine of 10% of their annual earnings. The European Union rules also hint at the possibility of enforced break up of a company.
Anti-trust regulators around the world are actively pursuing bills to create a check and balance system for the accountability of the aforementioned tech giants as billions of people use their devices and services for various purposes: communication, professional, educational and more.
Recently, U.S. House Judiciary Anti-trust Subcommittee concluded its investigation of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon and wrote that the U.S top tech giants have established “kinds of monopolies like the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” And Apple vehemently disagreed with that assessment.
EU pushes for strict laws to curb the power of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon
It is reported that the 27-country bloc is working on new rules to “seriously” limit the power of the world’s most dominant tech companies which control users’ data and use of their platforms to influence users’ decisions, choices, and social interactions and spread of misinformation.
The regulators are irked by the “acquire and kill” business model of the tech giants which creates an imbalance marketplace where the smaller developers are at a disadvantage.
They also mark the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet’s Google, which critics say did not address the problem.
Seen as a way to “prevent the emergence of anti-competitive dominant companies”, the European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, and EU Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton support the new rules. The new regulatory legislation will provide guidelines for acceptable and disapproved business practices for gatekeepers. The violator will be heavily fined.
One set of rules, the Digital Markets Act, calls for fines up to 10% of annual global turnover for so-called online gatekeepers that don’t comply with the new rules as well as a break-up order as a last resort.
The report defines gatekeepers as “companies with an entrenched position, a significant impact on the EU market and with a core platform service which is an important gateway to users.”
Thus, as per the new rules, gatekeepers will have to:
“Provide merger bids to concerned authorities to prevent acquisitions that kill off rival companies.
They will be required to do more to tackle illegal content, misuses of their platforms that infringe fundamental rights and intentional manipulation of platforms to influence elections and public health, among other requirements.
The companies will also have to show details of political advertising on their platforms and the parameters used by their algorithms to suggest and rank information.”