EU fails to control Big Tech, claims auditor
An European Union external auditor warned that the EU fails to tame Big Tech because it moves too slowly to tackle new issues that arise and lacks legal muscle to restrain companies such as Google and Facebook for anti competitive behaviour.
The European Court of Auditors claimed that the antitrust probes are often too long and enforcement only occurs after Big Tech companies have wiped out the competition.
This year marked a decade since Brussels launched its first competition investigation against Google’s online shopping comparison service, but the outcome of that case, a €2.4bn fine, is still being appealed before the European Court of Justice.
The auditor suggested that the EU should find new ways of intervening sooner.
“The Commission has currently no tools in its hands that would allow it to intervene before competition problems would occur,” the authors of the report released on Thursday said.
It also said that the EU was ill equipped to deal with a sector where companies grew so quickly that Big Tech competes “for a market instead of in a market, leading to ‘winner-takes-all’ outcomes”.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, last week announced new charges against Amazon.
Also, the new Digital Services Act regulation is expected to be released before the end of the year. This will be the first major overhaul of the EU’s approach to internet companies for two decades and is likely to label Big Tech companies as gatekeepers who will be subject to more onerous rules.