Always on the offensive against United States tech giants, the European Union (EU) is reportedly set to carry out a wide-ranging probe into these companies — which include Google, Amazon, and others.
The EU’s ultimate goal is to establish a universal set of regulations for how companies conduct business in the digital space. A draft plan for these regulations has been submitted to the European Commission, but has yet to be approved.
These events are separate from the EU’s antitrust investigation that we reported on earlier this month, but there is some crossover when it comes to internet search. This particular investigation will also look into how search companies list search results, as well as the placement of paid listings.
Other areas of this investigation include looking at how US companies deal with customer data, and how easy it is for customers to switch services.
This marks yet another example of the EU excising its power against US tech companies. Earlier this year, United States President Barack Obama accused the EU of unfairly attacking US tech companies because European companies “can’t compete”.
On the other hand, the EU defends its actions saying that a single digital market with unified regulations would help to both protect customers and boost digital business in Europe.
In addition, the EU also faces pressure from French and German ministers to launch an investigation into US internet companies, having called for a “general regulatory framework” for “essential digital platforms”.
The ministers state:
“We believe that the growing power of some digital platforms is a wider challenge that warrants a policy consultation with the aim of establishing an appropriate general regulatory framework for ‘essential digital platforms.”
The European commission is set to approve the probe by next week, which will commence before the end of this year.