back to article Ex-boss of UK's Competition and Markets Authority asks: How can it tackle Big Tech when no one knows what the CMA is?

The former head of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has put the boot into his old employer, saying it lacks the necessary clout to take on the world's biggest digital companies. Former Tory MP Andrew Tyrie – now Lord Tyrie – was chair of the regulator between 2018 and 2020. In a report published by the Policy …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "come down like a ton of bricks"

    So, does that mean that the fine will be 1% of the company's daily revenue, or 0.001 % ?

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: "come down like a ton of bricks"

      That means they will ship those bricks to Amazon fulfilment centre and flog them as artisan door stops.

  2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Jurisdiction

    The CMA surely has problem of jurisdiction, in that Apple, Google, Amazon, FaceBook etc. are all foreign / multi-national companies which use the advantages of doing business from a foreign country to avoid (legally AFAIK) taxes and possibly some consumer protection laws (el Reg legal Beagles please advise) in this country.

    With all this international trade (ignoring the customs issues of the Northern Ireland protocol), it must be a nightmare job. It is all very well 'shining a spotlight' on fake reviews on websites, but the enormous effort individuals actually have in getting the web giants to take action shows how difficult the CMA's job is. Even Martin Lewis had to take FB to court to get them to take down fake ads using his name and image to sell financial 'products' (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46972940), and it took him ages.

    I do not envy them their task.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Jurisdiction

      Surely these big companies have legal presence here, so they are under our jurisdiction.

      The problem is, they have so much money, they can afford to buy any politician trying to do anything about their tax avoidance and other anti-competitive behaviour.

      Also where was CMA when Rishi thrown under a bus thousands of small businesses and given competitive advantage to his family Infosys and the likes with IR35?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jurisdiction

      "The CMA surely has problem of jurisdiction, in that Apple, Google, Amazon, FaceBook etc. are all foreign / multi-national companies which use the advantages of doing business from a foreign country to avoid ... possibly some consumer protection laws (el Reg legal Beagles please advise) in this country."

      If you're trading in the UK, you're legally required to form a company of some description. All of those you mentioned have UK domiciled subsidiary arms, which would place that entity/those staff under local jurisdiction.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Jurisdiction

        >If you're trading in the UK, you're legally required to form a company of some description.

        Really ? I bought a load of stuff from china and I don't think Store12345 on aliexpress have a major UK subsidiary.

        Remember Google don't trade in the UK, they merely advertise - all their sales happen in Dublin.

        1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

          Re: Jurisdiction

          While Store12345 doesn't AliExpress probably does. It's AliExpress, Amazon etc who are facilitating and profiting so they should be held as accountable.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Jurisdiction

            I wholly agree with you, but companies that have their sales workers in the Republic of Ireland are taxed and regulated on those sales in the Republic of Ireland, even if their products are made in China, and sold to English purchasers and travel through the EU and are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

  3. Robert Grant Silver badge

    The former head of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has put the boot into his old employer, saying it lacks the necessary clout to take on the world's biggest digital companies.

    Former Tory MP Andrew Tyrie – now Lord Tyrie – was chair of the regulator between 2018 and 2020. In a report published by the Policy Institute think tank, he argued that for many businesses and consumers in the UK, the CMA is all but invisible.

    The paper, titled "The Competition and Markets Authority: a reboot for the 2020s", found that two-thirds of businesses did not know that the CMA enforces competition law in the UK. Two-fifths said they had never heard of it.

    I don't understand how he isn't just putting the boot into his own tenure there. Why didn't he say this when he was in post, and lots more people would've heard of it?

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Monopoly

      ...and while he is at it, why is there only one Competition and Markets Authority?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      If he's looking for someone to blame he needs to start with a mirror.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Again, it is the consumer – millions of us – who lose out..."

    Yeah, that's the objective.

    :(

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Politicians holding their buddys to account?

    And turkeys are voting for Christmas.

    Not.

  6. Tilikum
    Coat

    Perhaps.....

    Perhaps it should get some credibility in the sector first by 'frying' a little fish its does have jurisdiction over....Nominet for example.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A/C because legal shit.

    The CMAs primary role in recent years has been to defend utility companies being attacked by Ofgem trying to drive down bills, directly counter to the investment needed to actually deliver you know, working networks capable of supporting net zero.

    The CMA is just another quango of the civil service deliberately distancing the actual elected government from doing its job. Let private companies do what is necessary, OR renationalise and do the same. Any other outcome is just greenwashing, and will come at a price of unreliable networks in future.

    Very sick of the red tape and inaction enforced by useless, direction less government.

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