Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • The EU has suggested it may need to take "more prescriptive" measures to battle anticompetitive practices.
  • A report suggests that simply asking companies to halt practices can take too long to implement.
  • Apple and Google, as well as Facebook and Amazon, could all be at risk of harsher measures.

A report suggests that the EU may be looking to implement "more prescriptive" measures in its fight against anti-competitive practices on the continent.

According to a report from Reuters:

EU antitrust regulators are considering taking a tougher line against tech giants by forcing them to do more to ensure a level playing field, a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday, a move which could affect Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google.

The report names Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook as companies that could potentially be affected by the change as described by Cecilio Madero Villarejo, acting director-general at the Commission's competitive division. Speaking to a CRA conference he said:

"In fast-moving markets, there is a risk that this would take too long to implement and be too difficult to monitor...

"Therefore in particular in these markets, fast-moving markets, we may design more prescriptive and possibly restorative remedies in order to ensure that conditions for effective competition will be fully restored."

Whilst the statement is incredibly ambiguous and seemingly quite ominous, it would seem that the EU may be looking beyond simply asking companies to stop doing a certain thing, and more towards the potential implementation of measures companies are actively required to follow. Indeed, the mention of "restorative remedies" could even suggest that compensation amongst companies is being considered as a means to level the playing field.

According to the report, Margrethe Vestager, head of the EU's competition arm, said that in hindsight, she would have been "bolder" when imposing fines of more than 8 billion euros on Google, following a 10-year investigation into the company. Cleary, Vestager echoes Villarejo's sentiment that simple fines and preventative measures may not be enough to quell activity that the EU at least believes is unfair.