Make no mistake about it, Apple is high on the EU's 'Hit List' of U.S. Tech Companies they wish to Damage in 2021
In early September Patently Apple posted a report title "France is Preparing a Major Strike against U.S. Tech Companies later this year or in 2021, with Apple being their #1 Target." The report noted that "Giving an example of such a scenario, the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, cited Apple’s business operations as a particular area that has been bad for competitiveness in Europe. Apple’s market capitalization is now larger than the capitalization of all the CAC 40," referring to the benchmark French stock market index."
Le Maire added that "It is a competition issue when these companies develop strategies to lock in their users in their services and ecosystems," which was noted as a veiled reference to Apple’s app store operations, which has long been a source of frustration for Apple’s rival firms and for smaller companies seeking greater visibility on the platform.
So the news that the EU, driven by France's finance minister and others like Margrethe Vestager, another Apple hater, is said to be creating a U.S. tech company "hit list," there's no guessing here as to the fact that Apple is going to be a gigantic target.
Not maybe, count on it. Margrethe Vestager already has several investigations against Apple, occurring in tandem regarding the App Store and Apple Pay while they've made it clear that Apple is under the microscope regarding Apple's digital assistant Siri.
Europe will pound Apple into submission to rules that may not even be legal. Europe has already decided that they'll hijack Apple's platform whether they Apple agrees to it or not. Apple's store has been around for over a decade and now they object to it because it's successful? How absurd. How hypocritical of the EU. How typical of losers to want to change the rules in order to win.
Today the Financial Times is reporting that "Under the plans, large platforms that find themselves on the list will have to comply with tougher regulation than smaller competitors, according to people familiar with the discussions, including new rules that will force them to share data with rivals and an obligation to be more transparent on how they gather information.
The list will be compiled based on a number of criteria, including market share of revenues and number of users, meaning the likes of Facebook and Google are likely to be included. Those deemed to be so powerful that rivals cannot trade without using their platforms could also be added.
The move to gain new powers is part of a growing effort in Brussels to force big technology companies to change their business practices without a full investigation or any finding that they have broken existing laws.
It follows complaints that the current regulatory regime has resulted in weak and belated action, which has done little to foster competition.
The proposals, which are still being discussed among senior EU officials, could end up being part of new regulation aimed at diminishing the power of platforms that are perceived to be acting as gatekeepers.
As part of the powers, the EU is seeking to go beyond just fines, which often are seen as just the cost of doing business. Instead, Brussels wants to be able to move quickly to force the likes of Amazon and Apple to ensure they give access to competitors and that they share data with rivals.
In extreme circumstances, the EU will seek to address structural problems, by breaking up Big Tech, or by forcing companies to sell units if they are found to be behaving to the detriment of rivals. For more on this, read the full Financial Times report by Javier Espinoza.
Without a doubt Apple will be high on the EU's hit list as we've pointed out at the top of this report.
The real question becomes how will the U.S. react to an overly aggressive European agenda to cripple U.S. tech firms.
Last week the 450 page House Antitrust report emerged that is oddly in sync with the EU's main goal of damaging top U.S. tech companies.
The odds are that the EU is likely to wait to see the outcome of the U.S. election. A Biden win will certainly translate into to the EU going full tilt against U.S. tech companies knowing that Biden will want to play nice with Socialist Europe.
If Trump wins, the U.S. – E.U. trade war is likely to escalate dramatically if the EU goes forward with their anti-US tech company agenda. To be sure, interesting times are ahead for the tech sector after the U.S. elections.
On September 30th, Patently Apple a related post titled: "Russia, the EU and China are Declaring War on U.S. Tech Companies, like the Gatekeeper Apple and Search Giant Google."