Menu
France, Germany want EU to take a tougher stance on tech firms

France, Germany want EU to take a tougher stance on tech firms

Pressure is mounting in the European Union for tougher competition rules for U.S. tech firms

Germany and France have put pressure on the European Commission to take a closer look at how big tech companies operate in the European Union, a move which could lead to tougher competition regulation for companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon.com and Facebook.

French and German officials asked the Commission on Thursday to start a discussion about the development of EU competition law to deal with challenges that arise with Internet platforms, companies that don't just run their own businesses but also wield power over the publishers, information providers and app developers that depend on them, said Beate Braams, a spokeswoman for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The push for more scrutiny from two of the biggest EU economies could spell more trouble for U.S. tech firms which have been under fire from national and EU authorities in on a range of competition issues.

The Commission for instance has been examining Google's promotion of its own services in search results since 2010, an issue for which no end is in sight.

It is also conducting investigations into the tax affairs of Amazon and Apple to determine whether the companies received illegal sate aid.

In Germany and France, Google has been embroiled with publishers that say the company is abusing its market power to force news outlets to allow it to republish text snippets of news articles without compensation.

France and Germany did not make a concrete proposal for changes in EU competition laws, Braams said.

The EU treaties mean that any legislative changes would need to be at the EU, not national, level, she said.

The Franco-German call came on the heels of a call from the European Parliament to antitrust regulators to consider unbundling search engines from other commercial services as a way of maintaining competition in the search market, a move that is largely seen as another slap in the face of Google.

It also follows a letter sent to the Commission by four German ministers earlier this month which covered digital matters and also highlighted competition issues.

Open markets and fair competition should be basic requirements for innovation in the digital economy, the ministers wrote. And dynamics in the digital domain should be no excuse to allow an increase to the risk of abuse by big digital firms, nor should these platforms be allowed to favor their own products, they said.

Competition policy should make sure that such dominant market powers remain vulnerable. When such market powers are no longer vulnerable behavioral regulation would be an obvious next step to take, the Ministers said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationGoogleFacebookApplelegislationamazon.com

Events

Why experience is the new battleground for partners

Join us for an exclusive webinar, in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and learn about the latest industry insights and how technology services continue to evolve to deliver differentiated value, and how partners can be successful in 2021 and beyond.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments