back to article Big Tech revenues under threat from EU law proposals

Sanctions for non-compliance with new EU powers could hit tech giants with fines of up to 10 percent of their worldwide turnover – that's around $21 billion in the case of dominant online retailer Amazon. The political bloc's legislator has set out agreed rules to tackle dominance of big tech firms deemed "gatekeepers" because …

  1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    The more they complain

    the more likely the law needs to get passed, enforced, & used to beat the megacorps into submission.

    You've written the law, they've had their carrot, now it's time to use the stick. With Extreme Prejudice.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The more they complain

      Exactly that.

      Google said...Apple said....

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, if the laws change then you have to change to suit. You do it in "repressive" markets so that you can keep clawing in the cash, so why whinge when your "more compliant" markets start to make some demands too? Suck it up or leave the market! :-)

  2. Korev Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I'm sure BigTech will find a "legitimate interest" to "work around" these rules...

    1. Jeroen Braamhaar

      Not to mention being able to drag out paying up for fines (and compliance with regulations) for years -- all the while browbeating both public and politicians into abandoning the rules.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Some things one can be absolutely sure of .....

    I'm sure BigTech will find a "legitimate interest" to "work around" these rules... ... Korev

    Of course it will, and that will naturally invent and create remote independent autonomous mirroring service satellite operations/sympathetic off-site business activities escaping regulatory thresholds.

    To not imagine and accept BigTech is many steps and quite a few quantum leaps ahead of any competition or opposition is that which guarantees continuity and bypassing of serial regulatory failures.

    But that’s progress. Get used to it.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Some things one can be absolutely sure of .....

      Not sure big tech is that far ahead. Lots of amazon services are (well managed) rebranded OpenSource.

      Google search has got to the point its only ads.

      Many Big Tech services don't translate well to EU language and culture.

      We hear all day on El Reg about Big Techs cloud outages that seem a lot like they would benefit from redundancy across providers.

      When monopolies fail every one suffers, except the monopoly.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Be in no doubt, teknopaul, there is one thing some are absolutely sure of .....

        Big Tech Micro Kernel Cell[s] are virtually light years ahead in the Practical Application/Remote Anonymous and Autonomous Presentation of Augmented Virtual Reality Programs/Addictively Attractive Future Projects, which you might like to consider and realise are delivered fully phormed with assets and services from the future rather than invented and constructed with traditional and conventional tools and materials from the past and present.

        And the prodigious stealth that either the widespread disbelief or zero common knowledge of such a matter provides, guarantees its relentless unhindered march into all hacked and cracked wide open SCADA Administration Systems in order to do its quantum communications leaping progress thing.

        Is what is needed for humans, an almighty demonstration which destroy a previously thought indispensable and vital facility and/or utility .... replacing it with something altogether quite different and significant better/much more equitable and helpful ...... seeing as how extant systems leaderships are so averse and negatively reactive to terrifying changes ..... which are always leaps into a commonly unknown greater future.

        But more of the same gets one nowhere and only invites and delivers petrication and stagnation .... Terminal Rot.

  4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Without apparent irony

    "Margrethe Vestager ... took to Twitter to declare ..."

  5. Aladdin Sane

    Oh no

    If it isn't the consequences of their own actions.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "we're worried that some of these rules could reduce innovation"

    Yeah, sure. Innovation.

    Nothing to do with your ability to sling ads, oh no. Innovation it is.

    Because a more level marketplace has always historically stifled innovation.

    Pull the other one, it has bells on it.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Pull the other one

      We notice that one of your legs has bells on. Would you like to view more bells, suited to the other leg?

      1. fitzpat

        Re: Pull the other one

        More likely it would be "Would you like to view more bells for the same leg?".

        I've already bought <item>, stop bloody telling me I might want more of <same item>.

  7. nematoad Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Lucky them.

    Lucky old members of the EEA.

    It's what has been needed for years now and with the heft that the EU + Norway, Iceland, etc have, this might just bring these monster companies to heel.

    Now more than ever I regret the act of self-harm the great British electorate inflicted on us when they decided to leave the EU.

    What chance the UK will follow in the steps of the EU and introduce similar legislation? From what I can see, slight to none, and while our European counterparts benefit from this act we will continue to be subject to all the abuses and dirty tricks the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft can dream up just to fill their already obscenely well lined pockets.

    Leaving the EU was always a stupid idea and this sort of thing just rubs salt into the wound.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lucky them.

      I think you're flattering Boris & Co here. I'd bet the Tech Giants will look at half a grubby island off the continental coast and think "we're not making a special exception for them - they can have EU rules and save us the bother". They might be more interested if they think they can move their offices to England based but Middle Eastern owned "Free Ports" so they can foreign flag employees out of their rights though.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Lucky them.

      Leaving the EU was always a stupid idea and this sort of thing just rubs salt into the wound.

      This is the first time I am glad Brexit succeeded, otherwise the UK-part of the commission would have sabotaged this new regulation.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Lucky them.

      You have to look at these things in the round. The UK still gets to choose whether to adopt comparable legislation, but also got to avoid bailing out the EU's terrible COVID response.

      It's a net benefit, and we still haven't had the massive job losses and house price collapse we were promised in 2016.

  8. uccsoundman

    Regulate me? I'll shut down your government!!!!

    So, if I'm Amazon, I know that all these government and banking systems have long since moved all of their computing to the cloud. So, I just put up a bold and brazen warning; if you implement any measures that bother us in any way, we'll just turn off your cloud computing accounts. In 1 hour all of your governments and all of your banking systems will collapse. We will turn them on again only if you make us king and give us absolute autonomy. Long Live King Amazon!!!!

    What's to prevent it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Regulate me? I'll shut down your government!!!!

      Hmm. I think someone who behaved like that definitely shouldn't be allowed to play with rockets.

    2. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Regulate me? I'll shut down your government!!!!

      @uccsoundman "What's to prevent it?" Greed

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Regulate me? I'll shut down your government!!!!

        @uccsoundman "What's to prevent it?" Greed ....... Falmari

        Methinks it is greed which invents and drivers such behaviour/aspiration/revolution/evolution, Falmari.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Regulate me? I'll shut down your government!!!!

      Just it would be breach of contract and the fines and damage will destroy the Bezos' empire... moreover States unlike little customers have the powers to seize your datacenters it you start to act criminally.... blackmailing is a crime.

    4. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Regulate me? I'll shut down your government!!!!

      Instant arrest and life imprisonment. Even the US government is going to realize that kind of move is a no-no.

  9. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    Who blinks first?

    This appears to have some strong rules, and even stronger penalties (although the devil is in the details so we should reserve judgement for a while). On the other hand, global megacorps have quite a lot of power of their own. It would be interesting to see what would happen if some of these decided they would not operate in Europe at all under these new terms.

    Europe is a reasonably large, and very well off, market so they would be walking away from quite a lot of business. On the other hand, no local players have anything like enough global presence to be a serious threat to them.

    I genuinely wonder what would happen if Facebook declared "we won't do business under these terms, so we are closing all our EU companies". In the short term there would be a lot of shouting - on both sides - but it is not at all clear who would win. FB would be walking away from a lot of business, and a lot of EU users would be very unhappy at losing the features of FB that they know and love (I have no FB account so I have no idea what those are, but a lot of people seem to find it useful). Possibly more importantly, there would be an opportunity for a local company to step in but I can't see anyone likely to offer anything like the same scope of services (can you imagine FB as run by Deutsche Telekom?).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who blinks first?

      I'd be more interested to see what the reaction would be if Apple decided to pull out of the EU market. No App Store and no more iPhone or iPads (the Mac side of the business is more open, so less of an issue). Alternatively, they could just just pull out the App Store (which wasn't a key factor in the initial iPhone take-up) and allow other stores onto EU registered handsets and tablets. An EULA that stated stated that users installed any software beyond iOS/iPadOS at their own risk would be needed of course, but whoever reads those.

      I don't imagine Apple would want to lose the EU market but they might decide compliance adversely affects their overall business. The UK, since it is no longer part of the EU, would continue as now, though probably more likely to have data routed to US servers (for a while, anyway).

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Who blinks first?

        Yeah, just it got out from the Chinese market to avoid to complain with Chinese rules - and you see how Apple is strongly defending its customers' privacy there...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who blinks first?

      I think Big Tech know which side the bread is buttered. If you get so big that your finances approach the clout of small to medium countries, you're going to have to play by the trading rules in your neighbourhood. If you become a political problem it's not going to end well. Look at what is happening in Russia and China - they don't want that sort of attention. They can afford to bluster at more isolated economies, hence FB giving the finger to the UK parliament, but they aren't going to give up the business in the big blocks (US, EU). They will evolve to survive.

    3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Who blinks first?

      There is already a FB clone,VKontakte

  10. Trotts36

    The socialist stench is strong in this domain

    Don’t kid yourselves brownshirt commentards; this is all about the eu attempting to scrape as much taxes as they can to prop up their ridiculous kingdom of self gratification.

    Quite how the youth of today are now cheering for government to have ever more control - I just don’t know.

    Personally I hope the big bad corporations give the middle finger to these corrupt socialist bastards.

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