Regulators in the European Union’s Parliament recently reached an agreement on a package of laws aimed at curtailing technology companies’ anti-competitive practices. The Digital Markets Act will open so-called “walled garden,” ecosystems of linked software and hardware so common within the Apple and Google platforms. This legislation would prohibit technology companies from conferring preference on their own services, i.e. Apple could not set Safari as the default browser on a new MacBook.
Frankly it’s about time, but didn’t we see this already way back in 1998 with Microsoft and its browser, Internet Explorer? Perhaps, we’ve just become comfortable with the convenience of Big Tech’s monopolistic behaviour.
Same old, same old
Apple is sticking to their standard refrain whenever their monopoly is challenged in response to the DMA announcement. The proposed legislation would create “unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities” and would “prohibit us from charging for intellectual property.”
What exactly does this mean? Since when did creating or owning intellectual property guarantee you could make billions, no wait, trillions of dollars?
If it talks like a monopoly and looks like a monopoly…
Apple, has a market capitalization of $2.85 trillion, Google is worth $1.7 trillion, Meta (a.k.a. Facebook) is worth a paltry $600 billion. To put it in perspective Walmart which is the biggest corporate employer with 2.2 million employees earning a salary and paying bills is worth only $424 Billion. How can these companies possibly cry foul and fear a little competition when confronted with numbers like these?
Just because you make $1 billion doesn’t give you the right to make $10 billion or even $100 billion. I believe if you hit $1 trillion and above, your business should immediately attract attention from regulators looking to break-up your obvious monopoly to level the playing field for other technology companies.
The dominance of Big Tech is undeniable and it affects all corners of the Internet. If there’s big money to be made in Europe offering services to Europeans, doesn’t it seem logical that some profit stays in Europe, considering the many successful European tech companies?
The DMA is intended to make the Internet more competitive for everyone, and carries big penalties for those that break the rules.
One way or another, Europe is going to get their pound of flesh from companies like Apple and Google. Big Tech can do it the right way and open their closed ecosystems to competition and make a little less money, or they can do it the hard way and pay huge fines.