European Commission could get even tougher on tech in 2020

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European Commission could get even tougher on tech in 2020
Tech giants might be in trouble next year.
Illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The European Commission famously handed Apple a massive $14.5 billion bill in 2016. But from the sound of things it’s only going to get tougher with Silicon Valley’s biggest tech giants.

According to a new report, EU antitrust regulators are “considering taking a tougher line” against companies. This could affect the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.

There aren’t too many details in the article. But it suggests that the Commission is rethinking the way it deals with anti-competitive practices.

“In fast-moving markets there is a risk that this would take too long to implement and be too difficult to monitor,” Cecilio Madero Villarejo, acting director-general at the Commission’s competition division, told a conference. Villarejo said the answer may be certain “restorative remedies”.

He’s not the only talking tough. Earlier this week, EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager chimed in. She said that, in hindsight, Europe should have been even tougher on Google, which it fined $8 billion several years ago. However, Vestager says that, “If I knew what I know now about Google, I would be bolder.”

European Commission: Getting tougher on tech

Recently, a report from British organization Fair Tax Mark claimed that tech giants have avoided more than $100 billion in taxes over the past decade. A previous EU investigation into Apple stated that the company paid as little as 0.005% on all European profits in 2014.

Europe’s not the only place talking tough about tech companies these days. In the US, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has said she thinks Apple exerts “too much power”. Warren went on to tweet using the hashtag #BreakUpBigTech.

With record profits, right now is a great time to be a tech giant. Apple, the most valuable of the companies, is valued at $1.2 trillion. But, from the sound of things, 2020 could get a whole lot tougher.

Source: Reuters