Roughly nine months after Google’s parent company Alphabet was slapped with a 2.4 billion euro fine for “abusing its dominance in search,” Brussels bureaucrats are reportedly preparing to take things a step further and unleash Europe-wide regulations for search engines and other online platforms and apps. According to the Financial Times, which broke the story, the regulations are meant to protect companies that rely on Google, Apple or Amazon to sell their services or products.
European policymakers have been exploring ways to target “harmful” trade practices as many small firms in the region have complained that tech behemoths like Google have skewed search results to favor its own services over the services of its competitors. The issue has so far been left for members states to deal with. Of the largest European states, France has distinguished itself as among the most aggressive in trying to push back against the US-domiciled tech giants and their allegedly anti-competitive tendencies.
The regulations are also notable in that they represent the most stringent rules governing search engines’ behavior by a developed Western power.
Case in point: Earlier today, the French government warned that it could take legal action against Google and Apple over their “abusive” business practices.
“I believe in an economy based on justice and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices” against French start-ups, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on a local radio program.
“I consider that Google and Apple, as powerful as they are, shouldn’t treat our start-ups and our developers in the way they do today,” said Le Maire, calling the situation “unacceptable”.
The news didn’t have much of an impact on shares of Google, Apple or their megacap-tech brethren.
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