The European Union is seen as a tough tech regulator in view of the actions it has taken against tech giants like Google and Facebook with Apple and Amazon soon to follow.
With antitrust laws clearly laid down and presence of a single tough regulator for the European region things have been more effective when it comes to enforcement in Europe which has largely comprised of mandates and fines as against the US policy of calling for break-up of the tech giants.
US regulators could definitely take lessons from the way the EU regulator handled Google’s monopolistic practices in online market advertising. A series of fines beginning from 2017 the amount of which totaled to $2.7 billion followed by another in 2018 during which Google had to dole out $5.1 billion in fine marked the journey of the antitrust rulings levied on Google by the EU. The most recent was the $1.7 billion fine slapped on Google which will be appealed by the tech giant.
Facebook too has to answer to many probes from the Data Protection Commission based in Ireland, the place where the company’s EU headquarters are located. Many actions are expected to come in the following months from the EU national regulators over the monopoly and data collection concerns it has with regard to Facebook.
Amazon has been questioned by national regulators in Italy, Austria and Germany over its business practices in the online retail as well as logistics segment. Europe’s head of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager stated that the Amazon investigation is in a much progressed stage.
Spotify’s complaint against Apple of monopolistic tendencies is being taken up by the EU. Vestager had taken a firm stand against Apple in the earlier periods when it was directed to pay $14.5 billion by way of taxes to Ireland in 2016.
The possibility of occurrence of FTC and DOJ investigations sent Alphabet and Facebook shares spiraling down by approximately 5% and 6% respectively while there was a rise in shares of Apple and Amazon.