Posted: George Hancock Jr. | April 5, 2015

eCommerce Software

E.U. Wages Legal War against Apple and Amazon


American tech companies have, for the most part, dominated e-commerce and social media since their beginnings. Giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook have met competitors in places like China and India but who can name a European startup that has made any significant gains against them? Besides Spotify, which has made advances against iTunes, there really hasn't been a competitive rival out of Euroland. That's not to say that Europe never benefits from said companies, but the E.U. wants to give their tech firms a chance, according to CNN Money.

Beats, a music streaming service, was recently purchased by Apple. The E.U. is launching an antitrust investigation against the service. There is concern that Apple will use its size and influence to persuade music labels not to allow services like Spotify to stream music for free (with advertisements). Artists like Jay Z and Taylor Swift have taken to the airwaves against Spotify as well.

Just as Facebook users concern themselves, from time to time, the E.U. is now concerned that Facebook's privacy policy allows the social media company access to too much information about its users, used for ad targeting. There is also a large group of Europeans who believe that Facebook violated one of its own policies by giving information to third parties in an unacceptable way.

Google also faces a challenge from European parliament, which suggests dividing Google and allowing more competition. Google accounts for around 90% of searches in Europe. Moreover, it has been accused of promoting its own content over that of others in search results.

Amazon has been designated an opponent, too. The E.U. wants to investigate whether the online seller broke rules on cross-border trade. The European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, accused the net retail juggernaut of pricing goods drastically differently in different European countries.

The E.U.'s stance on competition and fairness differs from that of the United States and North America as a whole. Whether this fight is being waged to make European companies more competitive or if it is simply a war of principle matters not, as American tech companies have already learned from China and others.


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Written by George Hancock Jr.

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