The EU is Set To Probe US Tech Companies

The European Union (EU) is reportedly set to carry out a wide-ranging probe into Google, Amazon, and other U.S. tech giants — going well beyond the EU antitrust investigation that made recent headlines.

The EU’s ultimate goal with this new probe is to establish a universal set of regulations for how companies conduct business in the digital space. A draft plan for these regulations has been submitted to the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, but it’s not yet approved.

There’s some crossover between the antitrust case and the new investigation, when it comes to internet search. In both cases, the EU is examining how search companies list search results, as well as their policies for placement of paid listings.

Also under investigation: how these companies deal with customer data, and how easy (or not) it is for their customers to switch services.

The newly reported probe is more evidence that the EU intends to continue its aggressive pursuit of U.S. tech company and their policies. The EU says a single digital market, with unified regulations, would protect customers and boost digital business in Europe.

That’s the European view. But earlier this year, President Obama accused the EU of unfairly attacking U.S. tech companies because European companies “can’t compete.

Obama’s remarks don’t seem to have deterred the EU’s regulators. They’re under pressure from French and German ministers to keep the heat on American internet companies to develop a “general regulatory framework” for “essential digital platforms.”

EU officials stated, “We believe that the growing power of some digital platforms is a wider challenge that warrants a policy consultation with the aim of establishing an appropriate general regulatory framework for ‘essential digital platforms.”

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