- Guillermo d. Olmo – @ BBC Colmo
- BBC World News
First it was Europe, then the United States … now China. Authorities around the world are trying to reduce the power of adults Technology companies, Which dominated the age of internet capitalism.
A few days ago, China issued rules designed to prevent the misconduct of industrial enterprises in the country, thus enforcing regulatory efforts of various countries.
All over the world, these companies that dominate the global economy, like Asian or American, are repeatedly criticized by people like Google, Amazon or Facebook.
Among them are allegations of monopoly practice, unfavorable conduct of competitive products on their platforms, abuse of customer data and the potential to threaten the supremacy of all small companies.
“People around the world are increasingly realizing that the power of these companies is causing very different problems, and governments are beginning to focus on how to deal with this,” said Charlotte Slaman, director of competition policy for the American organization Public.
What officials around the world are doing
The rules, issued by China’s market regulation state administration, are aimed at preventing large Internet companies from eliminating potential competitors or selling their customers and users’ data illegally at a loss. They also include measures to prevent them from being bound by the rules of the shelter.
Doing business routinely for key companies in the country such as Alibaba, Ant Group, Tencent or Redeemer Food Distribution Site may be limited to the new milestone.
The announcement comes just days after Ant Group unexpectedly halted its launch on the stock exchange. President Jack Maw’s business federation was on the verge of creating the largest initial public offering (IPO) in history, which created high expectations among investors. But Chinese regulators denied recognition at the last minute.
European authorities were the forerunners of those who tried to subdue the giants of digital capitalism.
The European Commission announced the initial results of its report on the no-confidence motion against Amazon in early November, accusing Brussels of violating competition laws.
The camp’s competition commissioner, Margaret Vestager, said in a statement that it was suspected that Amazon had used data from external suppliers using its site to support sales of its own products.
“With the growth of e-commerce and Amazon being the leading platform in this type of business, fair and unlisted access to online consumers is important for all sellers,” Vostager said.
The European investigation into Amazon began in July. According to Forbes, Jeff Bezos’ company, the world’s richest man at the time of the epidemic, could face a fine of up to $ 19 billion ($ 99 billion) if convicted.
However, the company denied the allegations. “Every country we operate in has bigger suppliers than Amazon,” he said in a statement: “No company in the last two decades has shown more interest or support in more small businesses than Amazon.”
Amazon is the last of the US technology companies to be targeted by European officials, who have previously targeted Apple and Google.
The latter company was accused by the U.S. judiciary of illegally becoming the “guardian” of the Internet, monopolizing 80% of searches and prioritizing its products in them.
In its response to the historic lawsuit filed by Attorney General William Barr, the company said that “people use Google because they want to, not because they were forced or because they could not find alternatives”.
However, the initiative, which joins other federal bodies and lawyers in various states across the country against Amazon, Apple and Facebook – shows how the vision of technology companies is changing in the United States, which has traditionally been very concerned about the involvement of officials in the economy.
“For a long time, the notion was that innovation should develop freely in the United States, but it is now clear that the lack of competition is detrimental to innovation and that we must end concessions on large companies’ own products to protect them,” Slaman explains.
How to control the giants of digital capitalism
The biggest challenge for the states is to create rules that prevent these giants from continuing to abuse their hegemonic position, in addition to the barriers to excess that already exist.
Concern has already reached the legislature. In October of this year, a panel of the US House of Representatives released a report in which it was decided that technology companies should “have more power and control power”.
But the lack of agreement between Democrats and Republicans and the transition period until Joe Biden takes over the White House have now ruled out the possibility of drastic legislative action.
Weeks earlier, in July, a report by the UK Competition and Markets Commission (CMA) concluded that issues arising from the dominant position of Google and Facebook could not be resolved by its powers and proposed the creation of a specific regulatory body for digital markets that would regulate the behavior of sites that dominate the market. With the power to impose “.
According to Slaman, “hopeless actions play a vital role, but they are not enough.”
Like other experts, it supports the so-called operating system, which allows external suppliers to interact directly with users on dominant sites. For example, a company that sells bicycles can connect with someone looking for someone on Amazon.
This raises the question of privacy because this effort would require the sharing of user data, but Slaman believes that “dynamics are completely compatible with privacy, and sharing data is the user’s informed decision”.
This is how it ends
In a search for pioneers in the war between nations and large digital companies, it is common to cite the United States against the 1998 Microsoft lawsuit, in which U.S. officials accused Bill Gates of implementing the monopoly practices of its system, making Windows inaccessible to programs created by its competitors.
The process has dragged on for years, and this is likely to happen with the many investigations that are taking place today.
Commenting on the European investigation into Amazon, BBC technical correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones assesses: “This case will not be resolved quickly. Amazon claims to make more money from sales (sales) from outside suppliers than its own companies, and questions are actually raised as to whether there is any harm to consumers.”
Large companies are forced to share their businesses and are likely to reduce their size in accordance with unreliable laws.
But can states control the colossal institutions that many teachers believe are more powerful than many governments?
As for Slaman, only one thing is clear. “We do not know how this will end, but it is undoubtedly a real issue and will require government intervention at various levels to deal with it properly.”
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