Excellent technology has become too large. Amazon, Apple, Facebook (now Meta), and Google all face severe challenges due to their enormous effect on our everyday lives: litigation, international lawsuits, federal and state regulations, and new threats to these firms (Phillips and Burslem-Rotheroe, 2021). These firms have become stronger over the last several years, and their business choices now have a more considerable influence on our everyday lives and society, from the products they purchase and where they buy them to what they see on social media in News and Reviews. For some, once-exciting and inventive items intended to better our lives have devolved into a necessary evil with few rivals.
Current competition cases
The European Commission is seeing an increasing number of competition issues using technology. Margrethe Vestager is a pioneer of global technology regulation. They were named European Commissioner for Competition in 2014 and Vice-President in 2019. they have also brought anti-trust actions against Apple, Google, Meta (previously Facebook), and Amazon. Vestager is plotting the EU’s next move as it prepares to adopt new anti-trust legislation known as the Digital Markets Act (Phillips and Burslem-Rotheroe, 2021). For instance, Google was fined 2.4 billion euros in 2017 for exploiting its search engine dominance to undercut competitors’ buying costs. On November 10, 2021, Google also filed an appeal. The European Court of Justice mainly rejected Google’s claim. The massive punishment and endorsement of Google’s brand garnered considerable attention, but in many respects, it’s a sideshow to the fundamental issue of stopping Google (Bhamore, 2019). Continue to act in this manner in the future to defend European consumers. Along with the sanctions, Google’s conduct must be altered or improved. While utilizing the drug in this circumstance may be challenging, resolving the purchasing case does not work since it makes it simpler for Google to exploit other rivals.
The DMA creates a class of technology gatekeepers and then develops regulations governing matters like service prioritization and the use of analytical data to obtain an unfair advantage. Vestager thinks it will address structural issues that individual enforcement actions have been unable to manage and streamline EU cases against businesses (Beaupre, 2020). Additionally, developing technologies might offer new problems, such as cryptocurrencies and the metaverse – which, according to Vestager, may need regulation until it grasps what this is all about. Additionally, researchers explored topics that anti-trust laws do not address, such as how businesses should respond to unlawful information on their platforms (Oxford Analytica, 2019)_. For instance, The European Union’s first anti-trust case against Apple may result in penalties of up to 10% of Apple’s worldwide turnover and changes to the company’s profitable business model. Spotify of Sweden filed a complaint with the European Commission in 2019 stating that Apple unjustly limited rivals’ access to its music streaming service, Apple Music. They also expressed dissatisfaction with Apple’s policy of charging app developers 30% for the use of Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism (Amayo, 2021). Unable to comment, an EU competition officer engaged in four Apple investigations, including one involving a complaint against Spotify.
The Commission has an excessive amount of investigative authority, and it is capable of breaking into businesses. If the Commission believes an action against the corporation has been filed, it will state objections (Crandall, 2019). However, necessary legal interventions are taken before a judgment is issued. This can be observed from the Microsoft case where the European Commission penalized Microsoft $613 million and ordered the American software giant to deliver a version of Windows without Windows Media Player within 90 days (Vásquez Duque, 2021). The verdict follows a five-year examination into the company’s European business operations. Microsoft exploited its near-monopoly position in the computer operating system industry by purposefully restricting the interoperability of Windows PCs and workgroup servers running non-Microsoft operating systems, enabling it to establish market domination in the workgroup server market. However, such judgment is only issued after a corporation has fully prepared its defense and testified before the committee, which then retires to decide on the case’s outcome.
Another prominent case is by DuckDuckGo and three other Google-competing search engines, which urged EU legislators on Thursday to take action against Alphabet (GOOGL.O) over new technology regulations, claiming they have yet to see a favorable conclusion from Google’s anti-trust case. In 2018, the European Commission fined Google a record 4.24 billion euros ($5 billion) for unfairly exploiting Android to bolster its search engine supremacy and ensure it operated on an equal footing (Oxford Analytica). Google then adjusted, stating four months ago that it would enable competitors to compete for free on Android smartphones in Europe as the default search engine. Ecosia of Germany, DuckDuckGo of the United States, and Quant and Lilo of France have all said that authorities should employ technical laws developed by EU anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager, dubbed the Digital Markets Act (DMA), to protect competition (Bhamore, 2019). Despite the recent revisions, it is believed that it will have little effect on market share due to its permanent constraints.
There is criticism that most of the EU competition cases for Big Tech companies are on American companies. Is this an anti-American sentiment leading to bias? It is a simple reality that most of the world’s largest technological businesses are American-based. Surprisingly, as the technology cycle progressed, several more renowned technology prosecutors became market leaders. They denounced the EU system as defendants. However, as complainants, they appreciated the EU’s delicate balance, but the speed of EU investigations was disappointing – last year’s cases. Technology behemoths are increasingly seen as gatekeepers – they restrict customers’ exposure to new technology while defending themselves by claiming to safeguard consumers from bugs and viruses (Fernandez, 2021). The EU is implementing new laws, but even inside Europe, rules may vary – after Brexit, the UK Competition and Markets Authority will compete with the European Commission. The fights are becoming longer and more complicated, and both sides now have superior resources.
To squash criticism of the EU’s efforts to ensure fair competition in the entertainment industry, one can refer to similar cases in the US against similar companies. For instance, The Federal Trade Commission of the United States filed a lawsuit against Facebook, charging that the business improperly maintained its monopoly on the social network for years via anti-competitive activity (Srinivasan, 2019). Following a protracted investigation by a consortium of 46 state attorneys general, Columbia, and Guam, the lawsuit argues that Facebook used a systematic approach to neutralize risks to its monopoly (Tiwari, 2019), including purchasing a prospective rival to Instagram in 2012. This conduct affects competition by limiting customers’ options to personal social networks and denying advertising a competitive edge.
Technology is expanding in scope and complexity. Consequently, the number of cases against Big Tech companies has grown in number and complexity. Technology advances significantly quicker than legal processes in this field, making it for Big Tech companies to face many lawsuits for violation of competition laws. When anti-competitive behavior is alleged, the EU must conduct an investigation. Therefore, many allegations drafted concerning anti-competition laws in the EU and UK are against huge companies by smaller and upcoming organizations in the industry. However, most of these cases are valid and require prosecution.
Amayo, O.O., 2021. Song sale forecasting based on standalone music streaming a case study of spotify on popular US chart songs.
Beaupre, J., 2020. Big Is Not Always Bad: The Misuse of Antitrust Law to Break up Big Tech Companies. DePaul Bus. & Comm. LJ, 18, p.25.
Bhamore, S., 2019. Decrypting Google’s Search Engine Bias Case: Anti-Trust Enforcement in the Digital Age. Christ University Law Journal, 8(1), pp.37-60.
Crandall, R.W., 2019. The dubious anti-trust argument for breaking up the internet giants. Review of industrial organization, 54(4), pp.627-649.
Fernandez, P., 2021. Legal foundations of the internet part 2: information ecosystems and anti-trust. Library Hi Tech News.
Oxford Analytica, 2019. European anti-trust moves against ‘significant tech’will rise. Emerald Expert Briefings, (oxan-es).
Oxford Analytica, Google fine cements EU anti-trust tech crackdown. Emerald Expert Briefings, (oxan-es).
Phillips, B. and Burslem-Rotheroe, T., 2021. The exponential cost of anti-competitive behaviour in digital markets. Without Prejudice, 21(2), pp.41-43.
Srinivasan, D., 2019. The anti-trust case against Facebook: A monopolist’s journey towards pervasive surveillance in spite of consumers’ preference for privacy. Berkeley Bus. LJ, 16, p.39.
Tiwari, A., 2019. Big Tech Monopoly-Effects, Desirability and Viable Regulations. CYBERNOMICS, 1(7), pp.19-22.
Vásquez Duque, O., 2021. Forced Choice vs. Inertia? An Exploratory Analysis of Choice Screens Applied in the European Microsoft Antitrust Case. An Exploratory Analysis of Choice Screens Applied in the European Microsoft Antitrust Case (January 14, 2021).