The Netherlands is joining forces with France to tackle tech giants with a lot of power. The two countries are joining forces to introduce stricter rules at European level.
This is evident from a letter written by State Secretary for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer (CDA) and her French counterpart Cédric O.
European Commission plans
The European Commission itself already has big plans to ensure that powerful tech companies will be less able to impose their will on companies and citizens in the future. The ideas of Keijzer and O elaborate on the European intentions.
This mainly concerns companies that have a platform that companies and consumers cannot ignore. Consider, for example, the app stores from Apple and Google. But the gigantic market power of companies such as Facebook and Amazon should also be limited.
The Netherlands and France advocate, among other things, that the tech companies make it possible to transfer data from customers to a competitor in one go, so that it becomes easier to switch. It should also be prohibited to favor one’s own services, which disadvantages users.
These requirements should apply to existing players in the market. Requirements should be imposed on new entrants to the European market right at the gate. One of the options is to require tech companies to proactively offer consumers alternatives to their own service.
“Action should be taken sooner if a platform with a gatekeeper function actually disrupts the market. They then impede the entry of new companies and limit the freedom of choice for consumers and entrepreneurs,” Keijzer writes.
It is remarkable that firm language is not shunned. If the proposed measures are not sufficient, the breaking up of tech giants is also on the table as far as Keijzer is concerned. ‘Breaking up these companies is not an absolute value, but can be the ultimate result’ of a competition case, says Keijzer. Incidentally, she adds that in principle this possibility already exists.
The pressure on the large tech companies is thus increasing further and further. Last month, a US parliamentary committee also released a thick report calling for the break up of tech giants.
Abuse of power
That committee came to the conclusion that companies such as Google and Amazon abuse position to disadvantage competitors. For example, Google would collect data about other apps via the Android operating system, and then use that information to improve its own apps.
Tech companies operating in overlapping markets should therefore be forced to divest part of the business as far as the commission is concerned.