Why are European and American regulators so uneasy when Google and apple are subject to global antitrust

 Why are European and American regulators so uneasy when Google and apple are subject to global antitrust

At the hearing, how would Mr. petraey respond to Googles accusation of curbing competition in the online advertising market? How can cook refute the claim that the Apple tax acts like a highway robber? Can Zuckerbergs testimony dispel doubts about Facebooks poor privacy protection? How will Bezos justify Amazons use of third-party seller data? It can be predicted that this will be a fierce confrontation between Silicon Valley technology giants and Washington legislators.

It is difficult to predict why waves of regulatory noise have arisen and what may eventually change. But it is certain that how to solve the digital economy competition problem has become a global concern. In order to compete for the discourse power of the future competition order, European and American countries have begun to compete secretly.


CEO hearing

Bezos ushered in his first appearance in Congress, and cook promised to attend at the latest

On the theme of online platforms and market power, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be collectively questioned.

Compared with the other three CEOs, Bezos, the worlds richest man and founder of Amazon, has never appeared in a congressional hearing. Perhaps for this reason, Amazon has previously refused to allow Bezos to testify. Later, a letter from the judicial committee to large technology companies mentioned that a subpoena would be issued if the CEO did not attend the hearing.

In fact, this is not the first time the big four technology companies have been questioned by Congress. On July 16 last year, the judicial committee of the US House of Representatives held an antitrust hearing. Executives of Google, Amazon, Facebook and apple were repeatedly questioned and responded to a series of sharp questions.

Why did the house of Representatives hold another hearing this summer and forcefully ask the CEO to attend? According to the Nandu reporter, in June last year, the US House of Representatives announced an anti-monopoly investigation on large technology companies. The current investigation is about to be completed, and the final hearing is in July.

Technology companies play a central role in American life and as CEOs, they must take the initiative, David cecilin said in a joint statement. As we said at the beginning, their testimony will play an important role in our completion of this investigation. Said cecilian.

The House Judiciary Committee has yet to disclose more details of the hearing. After a year long investigation, will congressmen fire all over the technology giants based on the evidence they have? How will the four CEOs in charge of the worlds top technology companies take over? All this remains to be seen.


Looking back on June last year, the news of Washingtons strike against Silicon Valley once caused public opinion uproar.

On June 3, 2019, the judicial committee of the US House of Representatives announced a top-down investigation into the antitrust problems of major technology companies. At the same time, the Department of justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), two U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies, have also determined the division of labor. Amazon and Facebook are supervised by the FTC, while Apple and Google are handed over to the Justice Department.

Soon after, states in the United States joined the ranks of investigating technology giants. Facebook is facing antitrust investigations by attorneys general of 47 states and territories, led by New York State, which alleges that Facebook puts consumer privacy data at risk and pushes up online advertising rates.

In September last year, led by Texas, 50 states and regions in the United States announced that they had launched antitrust investigations against Google. According to the latest news, California, where Silicon Valley technology companies are headquartered, was revealed on July 10 that it also targets Google. So far, only Alabama State in the United States has not joined the campaign of investigating Google.

From the federal level to the state level, the United States has launched a wave of anti-monopoly supervision of technology companies, which is unprecedented. What will be the result of repeated antitrust investigations? Zhao Ye, an antitrust lawyer, told Nandu reporters, the investigation of the house of Representatives does not directly lead to litigation. It may eventually produce a report, which will affect the long-term legislation and trend.

Around also told reporters in Nandu, the house of Representatives investigation will not have a direct legal effect on enterprises, or make clear penalties. However, this report may receive enough attention, which will have an impact on anti-monopoly legislation.

Unlike the house of Representatives, federal and state regulators can enforce law on technology companies. At the end of June, a person familiar with the matter disclosed to the media that the US Department of justice is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google this summer. As an independent agency of the federal government of the United States, FTC can directly punish enterprises for illegal acts. For example, Facebook was fined $5 billion by FTC for Cambridge analysis incident.

It is not clear when the U.S. federal and state antitrust investigations will end, and what the outcome will be waiting for the technology giants. This may be a long-term game.

According to the analysis of reporters from Nandu, the antitrust investigation conducted by the US law enforcement agencies is uncertain. It is difficult for this wave of investigation to draw a surprising conclusion, such as discovering a new type of competition damage or directly determining that a giants business model is illegal, as people expect.

More likely, make some kind of assessment of current market conditions. Among them, the understanding of the existing business logic and technical logic of regulators is the key to judge whether the enterprise behavior is illegal or not Around.


Continued high pressure in Europe: privacy protection under regulation

The U.S. antitrust investigation has not yet eased its strength. Recently, Google, apple and other technology giants are facing global encirclement and suppression. Among them, the European offensive is fierce, which may be related to the iron handed style of an antitrust official.

On June 16, the European Commission officially launched two antitrust investigations against apple to assess whether Apples measures in the app store and apple pay violate EU competition policy.

Prior to apple, the European Commission announced on July 17 that it would launch an antitrust investigation into Amazon. The accusation stems from Amazons dual role as both a platform operator and a platform retailer. Vistag once described his worries about Amazons business model, saying that Amazon has hosted many small men in the market, and he is a big guy in the same market. So what will it do with the data it gets from little people? Will this give it an unparalleled competitive advantage?

According to Nandu reporters, most of the accusations against apple, Google and Amazon are based on their own advantages and suspected of monopolizing their competitors. However, the investigation on Facebook seems to be more inclined to M & A and data compliance.

On June 23 local time, the German Federal Court ruled that Facebook abused its dominant market position to illegally collect user data. The German antitrust regulator FCO has the right to restrict its data collection in Germany.

The special feature of this case is that privacy is included in the scope of anti-monopoly supervision for the first time, and that the weak protection of enterprise privacy is a manifestation of the decline of service quality. Li Tao, a teacher at the Law School of the Central University of Finance and economics, told Nandu reporters that the anti-monopoly law, to a certain extent, bears the function of protecting consumer welfare. Therefore, some cases related to consumers life may be adjusted through anti-monopoly system.

Judging from the current situation, the life of American technology companies in Europe is not easy. Even the UK, which announced brexit, recently targeted technology giants. The countrys antitrust agency issued a 437 page report on July 1, calling on the government to introduce a new competition regulation system to curb the power of Google and Facebook in the digital advertising market.

According to the observation of Nandu reporters, it may be due to regulatory pressure that experienced technology giants continue to release compliance actions. Earlier, two Apple executives said they had adjusted the app stores algorithm to reduce the frequency of Apples official apps appearing in search results. Recently, it is reported that Google may promise not to use the health data of Fitbit, a wearable device manufacturer, for advertising, in order to ease the EUs concerns.


Law enforcement competition is becoming a trend?

Who will solve the problem of digital competition regulation first?

Based on such a powerful force, companies such as Google have been accused of damaging market competition and consumer welfare. In addition, the Washington government has taken a political approach to Silicon Valley. Analysts from US investment banks have told Nandu reporters that the purpose of releasing regulatory rumors may be to make technology giants neutral and keep distance from any political parties.

Behind the data leak scandal that forced Zuckerberg to testify twice before Congress, it was Cambridge analytics, a company accused of using Facebooks 87 million user data to manipulate the US presidential election.

At the same time, the investigation and enforcement of anti-monopoly by major economic zones are also closely related to their competition policies and industrial structure. He said.

In May this year, an observation report on platform economy and competition policy issued by China Academy of information and communications pointed out that EU Member States call for different competition policies at home and abroad to cultivate European champions. The report predicts that in the future, the competition between competition policy and industrial policy around European champion will continue, and the EU will also strive to maintain the balance between industrial policy and competition policy in the digital market.

Regardless of the consideration, competition in the digital market will be the focus of law enforcement in the future, which is for sure. Li Tao said.

At the beginning of July this year, vistag announced the EU package, which will clearly define new legal boundaries for technology companies, rather than merely implement existing laws in areas such as antitrust regulation. In China, in early January, the General Administration of market supervision released the draft of the revised anti-monopoly law, which added new anti-monopoly provisions in the field of Internet. It clearly recognized that Internet operators had a dominant market position. Factors such as network effect, economies of scale, lock-in effect, and the ability to master and process relevant data should also be considered.

The approach proposed by the UK competition and market authority (CMA) is to establish a digital markets unit under the new regulatory mechanism, which has a number of powers to regulate monopolies.

It is worth noting that the CMA said that although the recommendations were mainly targeted at the UK, many of the problems identified were international. As a result, the above proposals will continue to play a global leading role in related issues as part of CMAs broader digital strategy.

It has also been noted that in recent years, the anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies of various countries have issued reports frequently and continued to make efforts in the field of digital economy, I understand that this is the right to speak for the future competition order.