back to article Biden urged to do something about Europe 'unfairly' targeting American tech

Bipartisan congressional representatives have sent a letter to President Joe Biden, demanding action over what they claim is the unfair targeting of US tech companies by the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA). The letter [PDF], signed by 22 congresscritters, complains that, out of six gatekeepers designated earlier …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "many have a greater national segment of the European market"

    They either don't know what national means, or they don't know what European means.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: "many have a greater national segment of the European market"

      The answer is "yes".

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Don't know whether to laugh or cry

    Maybe I'll just laugh till I cry.

    What incredible arrogance.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

      Love or hate the EU, but this is exactly why it was formed. To stop or at least provide some checks on rapacious corporate America.

      1. ritmo2k

        Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

        Right, because criminals only exist in America, European organizations are all saints and never break the law or act in bad faith.

        The world needs protection from just America, the only bad johns out there.

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

          And they get punished as well

        2. Dostoevsky

          Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

          Must be some touchy people who down-voted this...

          1. EricB123 Silver badge

            Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

            "Must be some touchy people who down-voted this..."

            I had the exact feeling. And I'm American.

        3. Cynical Pie

          Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

          Donald... did you forget your frog pills again?

        4. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

          The reason most of these companies ARE american is because the rules and general sentiment in Europe wouldn't allow them to exist in the first place. Europe has a lot more history of laws, regulation and more importantly active oversight that prevents European orgs from becoming the robber baron nests that American corps so often become.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

            You missed out one important element - finance. There is a far greater willingness to risk money in the US. There is also an attitude which says "even though you've failed once we'll let you have another go"

            1. LogicGate Silver badge

              Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

              There is indeed more VC available in the US.

              Is this a matter of mentality, or is it because it is easier to US individuals to amass large amounts of money?

              And if it is the latter.. Is this due to lack of regulation, where relatively few infividuals can become extremely wealthy on the broken backs of those that the system does not care for?

              1. General Turdgeson

                Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

                Yes...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

              Let’s try again…

              You missed out one important element - exploitation. There is a far greater willingness to exploit things in the US. There is also an attitude which says "even though you've failed once we'll let you have another go at exploiting the poor suckers……”

            3. iain666

              Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

              That's just palpable nonsense.

    2. EricB123 Silver badge

      Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

      USA national security interests are harmed by reigning in Google and Microsoft? Exactly how?

      1. Jurassic.Hermit

        Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

        Erm, by reining in the data that they slurp from every other country ?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

          That doesn't really explain why US congresscritters are so bothered about it though. US corps making profits abroad tend to keep that money out of the US so it doesn't get taxed when being repatriated other than those rare times when they get a tax-saving "amnesty".

          It makes one wonder what and who is motivating them to this action and how thick the brown envelopes are ;-)

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Don't know whether to laugh or cry

            They're bothered because their paymasters tell them to be bothered

  3. HuBo
    WTF?

    Hogwash Posturing

    Just look at France's FNAC and see that 19 of the 20 top-selling smartphones here are Apples (the other one is a Samsung Z Flip) ( https://www.fnac.com/Tous-les-telephones-portables-et-smartphones/Tous-les-telephones/nsh130385/w-4?SDM=list&ssi=6&sso=2 ).

    We have McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Domino's, Subway, Tesla, Whirlpool (plant closed), Good Year (plant closed), and plenty of others, but how many French (or EU) fast food joints, smartphones, PC manufacturers, car manufacturers, and other manufacturing plants are there currently operating in the U.S.? (answer: next to none, thank you very much for opening your market!).

    The reciprocity is not quite what you make it to be Mr. "EU authorities pose serious potential damage to America’s competitiveness and security interest"! Let the world-award winning cheese flow in! Tear down that anti-EU-import wall!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Totally unfair

      > "Just look at France's FNAC and see that 19 of the 20 top-selling smartphones here are Apples"

      > [...] how many French (or EU) fast food joints, smartphones, PC manufacturers[...]

      > The reciprocity is not quite what you make it to be

      The French smartphone and PC manufacturing industry, being, as everyone is well aware, a highly developed one. "Pomme" being the main, multi-trillion-euro-market-cap brand.

      1. LogicGate Silver badge

        Re: Totally unfair

        Let us talk about defence....

        The US is very keen on making europe adopt (buy) as many US made defence systems as possible (Which incidentally was the main treason for the mango menace to try to push European nations into more defence spending in those days when people though there would never again be a landwar in Europe). Whenver an European nation has a defence system that obviously outmatches US systems, then these will not be imported. The only way to sell such items INTO the US is for the company to be purchased by or in intimate partnership with a US company, almost always with the production in the US. While the strategic thinking behind this is logical, there is little thought of reciprocity.

        The situation is as it is because the US, as a monolithic block, could throw its weight around towards smaller European nation states. The EU is trying to re-balance things a little. Wailing ensues.

        Note that the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System ( NASAMS ) used to be called Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.

        Obviously such an unpatriotic name would never fly in the land of the free

        1. HuBo
          Pint

          Re: Totally unfair

          Indeed! And Euro-folks probably missed an opportunity, in the early 80s, to combine France's Minitel with Finland's Nokia phones, to create a lastingly most compelling of platforms, that in time would have moated itself against upcoming assaults from competing fruity challengers (eg. Pomme), and WWW.

          It's competition for innovation, and it's great, even between allies, but, of course, neither of the partners lying in bed together in such enjoyably productive way should accuse the other of pulling all of the bedsheets and covers over to their side only, leaving the other to shiver uncomfortably, when the linen has been distributed in the opposite way for some time now (the most common cause for divorce?)! -- IMHO.

          My marital advice to the congresscritters is to kiss and make-up ... (rather than whine, sulk, eat "soupe au cul tourné", or "soupe à la grimace", or even "salade de cul tourné" -- none of which is as savory!)

      2. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Totally unfair

        It certainly used to be…..

        France invented the WWW. No really, it did. In the 80s. It was called Minitel, and without any lie it was both really useful and twenty years ahead of its time. France had a great phone manufacturer, that was also a global tier 1 network infrastructure manufacturer: Alcatel, became ALU. And then there was Sagem: they made the first real consumer-grade fax machines. Excellent stuff.

        France used to be globally significant in this area….I’ll leave you to work out what happened to them. Hint: nothing external, or rather the culprit was within a couple 100km of their border….

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Totally unfair

          You must be French. Staunchly pro-nuclear, peddling chauvinistic stories about the Minitel... You tick all the boxes.

          FYI, the Minitel had zero chance of becoming a world standard: way too French. Transpac, Alcatel, Sagem, were just dinosaurs waiting to die. And ended up like ones. French nuclear is doomed to follow suit, btw. What the French companies have difficulties understanding is that they must collaborate at international level. When they do, it's a success: Arianespace and Airbus are good examples. When they don't, they just get sidelined (but not before sucking up large amounts of state subsidies, easily obtained from their pals at the government - revolving doors system at its best). Now they're trying to milk Europe in a similar way. Thank God the German are there to rein them in.

          So the problem is not a lack of political support. It's a typical corporate culture thing, rooted in elite hubris and lack of international business acumen. Which your post actually confirms implicitly.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: Totally unfair

            Well, I’m from the U.K., really not French..LOL.

            Arianespace and Airbus are the opposite of “international”. I’ve worked for one of those, and had a lot to do with the other. They are regional clubs, not global. They precisely *don’t* arrange manufacturing in the locations best placed to do the work. And they *don’t* employee globally - India, Indonesia, USA, Brazil. They are famously hyper-political and blame culture. Airbus Toulouse spends a lot of their time and budget trying to undermine and sabotage Hamburg, and vice versa. Both sites are *obsessed* with the state subsidies the other site is getting, focusing projects to get their own national subsidy with little interest in outcome, and often spend very little time at all on actually getting the work done.

            As a U.K. person at a senior level, reporting into yet a third business unit, both countries used to value me highly. They viewed me as an ally to find out what their opposition was doing. But the opposition was always: primarily Airbus Other Country; secondly non-Airbus Same Country (competes for national subsidy); thirdly Thales (European, adjacent business, competing for national subsidy areas); fourthly Boeing (honestly, hardly even mentioned ever).

            Your comments as a German align exactly with that experience. Might be worth reflecting on what you think the long-term prospects are, for the company I have just described.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Totally unfair

              I'm not German. Bad guess. I'm glad to learn you're such a highly valued individual and I just I hope your natural modesty did not conceal even more of your important contributions to the progress of humankind.

              Regarding Airbus, you're lost in irrelevant detail. It's a political company? Wow. What an exception, really! What do you expect? That competitive individuals only compete outside their tribe? Not a single species does that. Otherwise tribe leaders would be worthless.

              My point was: to survive globally, French companies have to go beyond their border. That does not mean they have to an office in all 193 UN countries. By the way, you're dead wrong about the assembly plants: there is one in the USA (Alabama); there is one in Canada and one or two in China (Tianjin and Harbin iirc). And of course they do employ in USA, India and Brazil. And I'm not even mentioning international subcontractors in the value chain.

              To make my point clearer, at the time the Airbus 300 was launched, Dassault tried to launch a similar airliner: the "Mercure". Airbus went all in on Europe and is still around. The Mercure is long forgotten. QED. Just the facts.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Totally unfair

                My point was: to survive globally, French companies have to go beyond their border. That does not mean they have to an office in all 193 UN countries.

                Alcatel did, so it became Alcatel-Lucent. Both were very big names in telecomms with a lot of big customers around the world. They made some very good kit. But then they did some silly things. They had a very nice switch platform that was multi-protocol, could handle voice, data, video. It also had a very nice management and provisioning system.. But in their infinite wisdom, they decided on a licensing system that meant every time a circuit was provisioned, or changed, you had to pay Alcatel. We couldn't make that work, so they lost out on an order for around $200m in tin for a new network.

                Alcatel group always struck me as a very French or traditional European industrial though, with fingers in a whole slew of pies and perhaps too diversified. So competitors just nibbled around the edges, leaving the core to collapse.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Totally unfair

                  You're confused. Alcatel merger with Lucent was not an opening to the outside. It was an association of companies unable to adapt to the new competitive conditions in the telecom market and hoping for salvation from the strength of the other. Alcatel was not approaching the merger as a wedding of equals but as an acquisition. The CEO Patricia Russo and fellow board member Serge Tchuruk, at the origin of the merger, had to be removed because they were unable to cooperate. Stock price was divided by 16 and then Nokia picked up the pieces (over paid) and has been struggling ever since. Regularly Divesting to make ends meet (see recent news) and bleeding people. The only jewel in the basket was Bell Labs, which is nowadays a mere shadow of its former glory.

                  What I meant by opening to the outside is making alliances with market leaders and sharing the work and the benefits so that all parties have in interest in the business and some skin in the game.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Totally unfair

                    The CEO Patricia Russo and fellow board member Serge Tchuruk, at the origin of the merger, had to be removed because they were unable to cooperate. Stock price was divided by 16 and then Nokia picked up the pieces (over paid) and has been struggling ever since. Regularly Divesting to make ends meet (see recent news) and bleeding people. The only jewel in the basket was Bell Labs, which is nowadays a mere shadow of its former glory.

                    Indeed, and I remember it well. Both were pretty dominant in telecomms, but then the bell-heads vs net-heads thing happened. Some of that was kind of political, ie the push for IP, even though that was arguably an inferior technology. Especially at the time it launched. Now, switching is more important, which is tech Alcatel and Lucent were very strong in, along with good'ol Bell Labs. And as you say, the culture clash between French and US really didn't help. Maybe Alcatel would have been better off buying Nortel instead, because they were almost French.

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Hogwash Posturing

      They already miss out on good french cheese, Kinderüberraschung, real German bread and brezel, EU rules for food safety ( etc etc loooong list - albeit we could import some things US has and we don't as well, an equally loooong list).

      1. HuBo
        WTF?

        Re: Hogwash Posturing

        ... and the Stollen (maybe 500g) cost more than $10 at my local Giant supermarket in Maryland (couple years ago) ... !

        1. LogicGate Silver badge

          Re: Hogwash Posturing

          A good Stollen will be expensive, even in Germany.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hogwash Posturing

            "Stollen? At that price, it's daylight robbery!"

            Sorry, I'll get my coat....

            Mmmm, stollen... we make it at home (in the UK) from a recipe given to us by a German uncle...

        2. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

          Re: Hogwash Posturing

          Try Aldi, Lidl or even M&S

          1. Dagg Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Hogwash Posturing

            In Australia we have Aldi, but they don't/won't sell the good European stuff. They just do a cheap version of the existing duopoly of the coles and woolworths supermarkets.

    3. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: Hogwash Posturing

      fast food joints, smartphones, PC manufacturers, car manufacturers

      I believe that currently the most numerous fast-foods here around are kebabs, so not from US. Smartphones are Chinese (or Korean) made not US. Same for PCs including the CPU/GPU (Taiwanese). As for car manufacturers, I think there are more European car plants in the US then reverse. All the US "exports" is their advertisement "industry". And weapons.

      1. Dostoevsky

        Re: Hogwash Posturing

        As this document (PDF): https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/component/docman/?task=doc_download&gid=3015 details, the United States exports mainly chemicals, rubber, leather, and plastics, followed by three categories of machinery, transportation, and medical/optical equipment. Also note the $219.6B trade deficit in the EU's favor.

        In fact, since WWII, much of Europe's heavy machinery has come from the USA. I live a few miles from the former LeTourneau plant, which supplied super-heavy machinery to the reconstruction effort under the Marshall Plan. (You're welcome, Europe!)

        1. Zolko Silver badge

          Re: Hogwash Posturing

          since WWII ... Marshall Plan ... living on old memories ?

          But you might be right, I should have added LNG from shale oil as export now that the US has sabotaged Europe's natural gas supplies. Who needs enemies with friends like that.

          1. LogicGate Silver badge

            Re: Hogwash Posturing

            "...now that the US has sabotaged Europe's natural gas supplies..."

            I think that you will find that Vladolf Puttler did all the sabotaging in this instance.

            Does it hurt? -Yes

            Is it necessary? -Absolutely!

            Does other parts of the world see things differently?

            Yes. It is amazing how not having city cores that needed complete re-building after 1945 makes history a lesson that can be overlooked.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Hogwash Posturing

              "...now that the US has sabotaged Europe's natural gas supplies..."

              I think that you will find that Vladolf Puttler did all the sabotaging in this instance.

              Does it hurt? -Yes

              Is it necessary? -Absolutely!

              A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Ass Sec Nuland & Geoffrey Pyatt were having a casual conversation, deciding who was going to run Ukraine, and how they'd "fsck the EU!". And fsck the EU she did. Pyatt is now Ass Sec for Energy Resources, which means he's sabotaging the US's oil and gas supplies. It wasn't Putin, other than his funding campaign groups to promote 'renewables' and campaign against fraccing, increasing dependence on Russian, and now US gas. Then of course the auto da fe was the EU banning Russian oil & gas, then looking the other way when Nord Stream had a bit of an oopsie.

              But the EU is no longer a larger economy than the US, for obvious reasons. That just cannot be allowed. USA! USA! USA!

              1. LogicGate Silver badge

                Re: Hogwash Posturing

                And so Jeel earned today's 13 Rubles..

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Hogwash Posturing

                  And so Jeel earned today's 13 Rubles..

                  Did you earn 30 silver dollars? For someone with logic in their name, you don't seem to use it much. How did Putin sabotage the EU's oil & gas? Did he use the mind control lasers from Cuba to force the EU to sanction themselves?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hogwash Posturing

              It was Ukraine that blew up nordstream as it was the best way to get Germany involved in the war.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/11/11/nordstream-bombing-ukraine-chervinsky/

              https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/06/politics/nord-stream-pipelines-us-intelligence/index.html

              1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                Re: Hogwash Posturing

                Aw, every month a different one turns up to be the bomber of Nordstream. Like the newest story about a high US military and his alien information. When I look back how many thing I though were done by one party, and 20 or 40 years (or 400+ years later) later something else is discovered as the actual truth there is no reason to believe this guy is as legit as any other.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Hogwash Posturing

                  Aw, every month a different one turns up to be the bomber of Nordstream

                  It's one of life's little curiosities. It was the largest (in economic terms) attack on an EU and NATO member, yet.. nobody seems to know who dunnit. Or at least aren't telling us. So it's been left to the conspiracy and rumor mill to speculate. It did have obvious economic benefits for the US, and trade between the US and EU has often been a tad unfriendly. See Boing v Airbus for more info..

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Hogwash Posturing

          "the Marshall Plan. (You're welcome, Europe!)"

          That wasn't exactly free money. You are aware of that right? Part of it was loans, most of it came with strings attached. Those super-heavy machines you talk about were mostly bought because it was either required to buy US made equipment with the Marshall plan funds or because there was simply so much demand within Europe that European plants couldn't keep up with the demand and US machinery was required. Overall the Marshall plan only contributed a minor amount in the economic recovery of Europe (some economists argue negligible effect) but bought the US a lot of influence.

          1. Dostoevsky

            Re: Hogwash Posturing

            You're correct up 'till you say "minor amount." Where else was Europe going to get aid? And who else was Europe going to buy from? The British were bankrupt, the Soviets were too a dangerous partner, and no one else had the industry to handle the demand. There were no notable European plants left, except maybe in Vichy France's area of control... Oh, and Franco's Spain, since he sat the war out.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Hogwash Posturing

              Several countries were well on their way to full recovery before the Marshall plan help even arrived. There was still plenty of internal production happening.

              Because I can't be arsed to search for a better source right now, from the wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Plan#Modern_criticism

              "The Marshall Plan's role in the rapid recovery of Western Europe has been debated. Most reject the idea that it alone miraculously revived Europe since the evidence shows that a general recovery was already underway. The Marshall Plan grants were provided at a rate that was not much higher in terms of flow than the previous UNRRA aid and represented less than 3% of the combined national income of the recipient countries between 1948 and 1951,[110] which would mean an increase in GDP growth of only 0.3%.[7] In addition, there is no correlation between the amount of aid received and the speed of recovery: both France and the United Kingdom received more aid, but West Germany recovered significantly faster.[7]"

              GDP growth of 0.3%. I call that minor. In the meantime it also meant giving away the lead to the US on a lot of fronts (aviation, high end technologie, etc) because there wasn't enough market in the short term for any EU companies to survive if there was easy enough opportunity to import things from the US. So while it may have helped a little bit in the short term, long term it's one of the contributing factors to the British aviation industry all but disappearing for instance (not to mention the effect of having been focused on short term production of relatively short range and low altitude bombers and fighters, while the US could focus it's industrial might on building long range high altitude pressurized aircraft and then use that built up knowledge as it pleased without sharing it back to the UK. Which basically gave the transatlantic aviation business to US firms).

              Part of the Marshall plan was also for European engineers to get to visit US plans to "see how it's done" but more importantly for US engineers to visit European plants and "tell them how its done" and "advice where they could improve". It's never been proven but extremely likely this also gave US engineers a very close look at European engineering and trade secrets they wouldn't otherwise have obtained.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Hogwash Posturing

              "the Soviets were too a dangerous partner"

              To be fair, and despite the downvotes you got, I suspect that was one of the major drivers of the Marshall Plan. Keeping the Soviets at bay. Which was a good thing.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hogwash Posturing

          "Also note the $219.6B trade deficit in the EU's favor."

          Perhaps the US should make more high value manufactures that Europeans want to buy, instead of selling us the materials to do such jobs properly?

          "In fact, since WWII, much of Europe's heavy machinery has come from the USA. I live a few miles from the former LeTourneau plant, which supplied super-heavy machinery to the reconstruction effort under the Marshall Plan. (You're welcome, Europe!)"

          Thank you...and you're welcome USA to the fact that certain nations stood up against tyranny for two years at the start of the second world war, whilst Americans chewed gum and considered that they didn't really mind too much who won. Of course, all that changed when the Japanese made the fatal mistake of attacking Hawaii, but by that time the Luftwaffe was on the back foot, Italian forces had been routed in North Africa, the German Enigma codes had been cracked, and Germany had made the fatal mistake of opening a second front into Russia.

          1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Hogwash Posturing

            had not the Americans joined in, the Soviets would have at least been on Frances coastline by the end (I mean why would they stop?) . So the yanks really Had to join in sometime

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hogwash Posturing

        Ford hasa been operating in Europe for decades and is doing pretty well. GM failed in Europe because the American operation went bust and pulled it down. Chrysler failed (twice) and is now part of Fiat (Stellantis)

        American cars don't sell well in Europe (or anywhere else) because the US domestic models are badly designed, uneconomic to operate and expensive to maintain - the USA has an extremely protectionist stance (Vastly more so than Europe or China) and substantial captive market

        As has been said many times, if America wants to sell more cars in Germany, the answer is simple: BUILD BETTER CARS

    4. EricB123 Silver badge

      Re: Hogwash Posturing

      "We have McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Domino's, Subway"

      Oh. so blame America for massive obesity and heart disease! Oh wait, Subway's artificial tuna sandwiches were healthy, but the hired a child porno collector as their spokesman. I apologize for the error.

  4. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Nobody move

    I dropped the world's smallest violin....

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Nobody move

      Not even my pet taridgrade can find mine.

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Nobody move

        Mine is half a Planck long :o

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Flame

    Too Big To Flail...

    Apple and Google, et al, once again look at EU law through their self-importance distortion field and decide to only follow the rules they feel like.

    I know the EU does not need the money, but fine their asses off.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Classic projection

    > "but the EU's 'digital sovereignty' agenda has repeatedly applied one set of rules to American companies and a different, more favorable set of rules to European and other foreign firms, including Russian and Chinese firms."

    Oh please. I'm surprised they didn't call them socialists, commies, and marxists, whilst throwing in phrases such as "haters of freedom", and "non-patrioits."

    Not everyone is as protectionist as you guys - stop projecting your MO onto others.

  7. Tron Silver badge

    Users will probably suffer in the end, as usual.

    Facebook pulled news from Canada as it didn't like the terms, and the EU are likely to kick X out soon. As GAFA is being bilked by the EU for free cash, they should obtain support from their own government.

    If the EU doesn't want any of America's big tech players, it can block them. If GAFA don't want to be ordered about or regularly fined for free cash, they can close down in the EU. The economic hit would be severe for all concerned. Or they can just find a compromise they are happy with. Most likely one that sees GAFA operate their tech as a surveillance network on behalf of EU governments.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Users will probably suffer in the end, as usual.

      I fail to see how users were hurt by any of those examples.

      If anything, it was to their benefit.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "ultimately makes America less globally competitive and less secure"

    Less globally competitive = less able to run roughshod over other people's rules. Yeah, I agree. You're competitive enough, I think. It's already all about you.

    Less secure ? Beg your pardon ? What does your security have to do with our right to police your wanton data mining ?

  9. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    Shall we go back in History

    on how many United States of America inventions and innovations came from Europe? Especially from Germany? (The latter, sadly, quite often due to the well known "German Angst". A quite annoying thing about my home country. "Bedenkenträger" is the term we use here. A near translation, albeit not a perfect match, is "worry wart")

    1. Dostoevsky

      Re: Shall we go back in History

      Mainly because much of Europe was a crappy place to live or do business in up to the last 100 years...which is why tens of millions of Europeans moved to America, bringing their ideas with them. Hmm?

      Also, look at your transistors on ICs, lightbulbs, and air conditioning. American inventions. Industrial agriculture? American again (with credit for mass ammonia production to F. Haber and C. Bosch of Prussia). The skyscrapers in your modern city centers and the quality steel to build them? American. The list goes on...

      The United States has done more to uplift the human condition than any other nation on the face of the planet, because we're building on what the Renaissance and Western Civilization have already achieved. Europeans should be *with* us, not bickering about who's invented more, or who is more cultured or educated. Quit moping about how successful your ancestors' colonies have been.

      1. Cynical Pie

        Re: Shall we go back in History

        The United States has done more to uplift the human condition than any other nation on the face of the planet.... hmmm has it though? Has it really?

        The printing press, the industrial revolution, sanitation systems, gunpowder, the computer, the jet engine... All invented/developed outside of the US and all have done way more to facilitate human development.

        America and folk like you Dostoevsky (nice European name there) need to realise is that human development has been happening for many hundreds of years, not just since 1776

        1. Dostoevsky

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          Somehow you conveniently missed this:

          > ...because we're building on what the Renaissance and Western Civilization have already achieved.

          I'm not trying to argue that only America has invented things. No one is that boorish, contrary to your opinion. America *has* done a massively outsized amount to bring prosperity to the rest of the globe. Obviously you can consider this an extension of the British Empire's work, in which case the *Anglosphere* has done more for world prosperity than any other culture. That's also true.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          >” All invented/developed outside of the US”

          As were computers…

          Okay the British government, true to form, were a bit dim and secrecy obsessed and so allowed the Bletchley Park workers to take up posts in the US that enabled them to further develop their knowledge and ideas…

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          Let's not forget that the largest and most prolific state-sponsor of industrial espionage over the last 300 years was the USA - openly until the early 20th century and less openly since American companies decided they wanted protection from the same tactics they'd been using on the rest of the world

          Start here: https://www.history.com/news/industrial-revolution-spies-europe

      2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Shall we go back in History

        > transistors on ICs, lightbulbs, and air conditioning. American inventions. Industrial agriculture? American again

        > more to uplift the human condition than any other nation

        > Europeans should be *with* us, not bickering about who's invented more

        And yet you push that "we are the only best" into other peoples faces, because "we are entitled to do so". Not the slightest bit of the other way around, ignoring the history again on how many shoulders we all stand.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shall we go back in History

        "The skyscrapers in your modern city centers"

        https://www.shrewsburyflaxmillmaltings.org.uk/story/

        Welcome to the home of the grandparent of skyscrapers, the first multifloored iron-framed building in the world!

        The Main Mill at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, with its pioneering iron frame, is the building that launched a thousand skylines.

        ...

        The Main Mill opened in 1797 as a purpose-built flax mill

        1. Dostoevsky

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          Ancestor of skyscrapers? I suppose I can grant you that. Alternating current is a cooler invention anyway.

        2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          > https://www.shrewsburyflaxmillmaltings.org.uk/story/

          Thank you for that link! A classical "America did it first - well not really..."

        3. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          Standing on the shoulders? It might well be argued that Bage significantly improved and extended existing technology: William Strutt, Wikipedia. Good quality, inexpensive steel on an industrial scale was made possible by Henry Bessemer, Wikipedia and others who were mostly Europeans...

      4. LogicGate Silver badge

        Re: Shall we go back in History

        "...and the quality steel to build them? American"

        Ever heard of Sheffield steel.. or Krupp steel? ..Or even Damask steel, if you want to go back far enough.

        I recently had to design with SAE 4130 cond. N rather than 1.7734.4 and .5. It is a clear step backwards both in strength and weldability.

        Also: The position of the US after WW2 is the result of the US being protected by oceans both to the east and to the west. It is amazing what being the only large nation without bombed out cities can do for your economy.

        Being lucky with the geography is an accident by birth, not the result of superior qualities. It is not a bad thing, but maybe also not something to boast about. Hands up everybody who thinks that the 1940 Blitzkrieg would have stopped in France had there not been the English channel.

      5. Al fazed
        Mushroom

        Re: Shall we go back in History,

        why? When so much of it is sheer b*ll*x.

        American subjugation of their own first nations, the way that decendants from African slaves are still treated today and the continual down grading of women in science and politics provide very good examples of why American enterprise needs to be policed. Those attitudes underpin financial interests which take American companies abroad looking to exploit foriegn markets and make huge unregulated profits.

        Yeah, let American greed rip. No worries eh ?

        Did America import such rapacious behaviour from Europeans over the passed centuries ?

        Does it matter ?

        Yes, we don't want it back, thank you. Keep it to yourself. We can see the huge pile of human detritous, everywhere, living on the outskirts of American economic success story.

        We don't need any more here as we are doing just fine ourselves, creating such a shitty world already.

        I won't mention Isreal, honest................

        ALF

      6. Krooty

        Re: Shall we go back in History

        This is so gratuitously misinformed that it can only be explained by an act of intentional ignorance.

        The first patents for transistors were filed in Canada and Germany in the 20s and 30s.

        The underpinning of industrial agriculture was the second industrial revolution and the development of artificial fertilizers, largely in Germany, married to machinery which was pioneered in Europe from British inventions of the First Industrial revolution.

        The first electric lightbulb was created in 1840 by the British Warren De la Rue, and Edison's bulbs were so "unique" that he had an ongoing rivalry with Joseph Swan that eventually lead to the "Edison & Swan Electric Light Company".

        To this day, the US has to buy British high-grade steel for the decks of aircraft carriers because there is no domestic US production of matching quality, and the very concept of Glass and Steel buildings were pioneered by the likes of Kew Gardens and the Crystal Palace decades before Chicago or New York thought to build high.

        As for uplifting the Human condition - no US treaty has ever forced a nation to end slavery. When the Nazis were killing people in their millions, it was the American citizen who refused to fight until dragged screaming into the war. The edifice of modern computer technology is built on a foundation of secrets stolen from America's allies, and then from developments hidden from those same allies. And it has been American corporations who have more than any other nations driven global climate change, pushed down quality of life across the globe in the name of "free trade" and decimated domestic industry not just within our own borders but in Europe, and for that matter any other place where the slave-wages creep too high.

        It is well and good to say "Ah, we mass produced this and that!" but that is an improvement on a method. Innovation, perhaps, but not uniquely invention. And even the concept of Mass Production - so often claimed as Henry Ford's darling little invention - was written of by a Scot hundreds of years earlier. Don't believe me? Just ask Adam Smith about the production of pins.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Shall we go back in History

          As for uplifting the Human condition - no US treaty has ever forced a nation to end slavery.

          That's a fun one to explore. As well as the English helping end basic slavery, there were some contributory factors. So some Americans stole trade secrets for producing cotton mills, reducing the amount of labour the Union needed. The Southern Democrats preferred to do it the Amazon way and used labour rather than mechanisation, albeit with slightly worse pay & benefits than Amazon employees get today. It also extended beyond the Civil War with wealthy northern carpet baggers heading south to further opress and exploit the poor Southern Democrats. Who promptly created groups like the KKK and Night Riders to keep the South Free and Democratic!

          Race memories like these may also explain why the Democrats are so keen to de-industrialise again. After all, it was that hated Industrial Revolution that allowed those pesky Union carpet baggers to make money and spoil the Confederate's fun.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Shall we go back in History

            (Historical footnote: The Republicans and Democracts switched sides in 1964 as a direct result of the civil rights laws. Prior to that point it was the Democrats who were the right wing loonies)

  10. Dostoevsky

    Hey European friends, don't judge us...

    ...because the people who wind up in Congress are usually the lowest forms of intellectual life in the United States. All the *smart* people work for the corporations, where they make a living wage without delving into corruption.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Hey European friends, don't judge us...

      It's very typical of the American style to keep going long after they should have stopped, for example in this case there are four words too many.

      1. Dostoevsky

        Re: Hey European friends, don't judge us...

        Not sure which of my two sentences you mean, but either sans the last four words is probably valid. :)

      2. smeg_it

        Re: Hey European friends, don't judge us...

        I'm guilty of that!

  11. IGotOut Silver badge

    Hey stop picking on the US companies...

    just block the commies ..

    Oh and Samsung, the look like commies. What your not blocking Gmail and Outlook? Look over there, commies.

    Oh btw were still putting barriers up to the stuff you make better than us; cars, steel, meat,..but hey commies.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Errr.. China?

  13. FF22

    Says the country..

    ... that does not adopt international standards on anything (be it units of measurement, types of connectors, standard voltages, battery sizes,etc) just to other countries will have a harder time exporting their goods and services to them, but brings "freedom" all over the world where it can reap the natural resources and manpower.

  14. Twilight

    Congress would better serve the American people (their job) by passing similar laws in the US to protect us rather than complaining on behalf of their corporate masters (Citizens United was probably the worst ruling in the history of SCOTUS (which then lead to even more corruption and more bad SCOTUS decisions)).

    1. smeg_it

      Thank You! I was hoping it wasn't all ignorance on our side here.

  15. b1k3rdude

    So this coming from a goverment that rolled over for nGreedia, right after saying it would punish them if they stepped out of line.....

  16. navarac Silver badge

    Rapacious

    I'm not an UE over but it is not the "US tech" itself that is the problem, but the Companies that own it. The rapacious gathering of data that is the problem.

  17. I miss PL/1

    He is

    He is standing on the side of China against Apple. Hey that 10% was a small price to pay for all the things he has done to help them.

  18. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Wahhhhhh, waaaahhhh, but I WANT!!!

    Shock horror, Congress-Babies on both sides of the Commie/Fascist divide wet their nappies because the companies that fund their campaigns are being told by the EU that they will have to behave themselves in future. At the rate USA is going you will soon have to modify your Constitution to start with "We the Corporations of the United States", not that our UK/EU governments are much better in that respect. I suggest that the US Government turn the spotlight on the US corporations and get them to put their house in order before pointing fingers elsewhere and crying "not fair!".

  19. somerandom4566

    Sure wish our congress had the fortitude to stand up to corporations in America in the way the EU seems to. We need better laws to protect citizens here in the US. I envy the data protection laws the EU has. These congresspeople can pound sand.

  20. JoeCool Silver badge

    Wait, Samsung has an Android browser ?

    I am by no means technically illiterate, but my personal exposure would categorize such a claim as "Myth".

    So not seeing that as a great argument to be making.

    1. smeg_it

      Re: Wait, Samsung has an Android browser ?

      Lol, you've had a Samsung and didn't notice all the bloatware? :)

      1. JoeCool Silver badge

        Re: Wait, Samsung has an Android browser ?

        Samsung are pretty reasonable withtheir add ons.

        You wanna know THE MOST ANNOYING PREINSTALLED APP?

        Google voice assistant. it just randomly pops open, even when the phone is locked, and voice prompts me to set it up. I can. not. delete. it.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Wait, Samsung has an Android browser ?

          You CAN force-stop and disable it, which is better than nothing at all

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Wait, Samsung has an Android browser ?

        Some of the best value Samsung devices are those mid-low range devices where upon removing/permanently disabling the Samsung bloat and crap me-too applications the devices ran really well. Samsung hardware is usually pretty good, the software tends to be much more like what would result if a horde of mentally deficient monkeys were put in a dark room and told to hit keys randomly until the software compiled (with warnings turned off, of course)

  21. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Prediction

    I predicted this would happen. And I believe U.S. lawmakers are right in assuming that Europe (with France pulling the cart) are out to get the U.S. tech giants and putting chains on them mostly out of spite. And I also predicted this would end with a trade war between the two economic powerhouses.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Prediction

      Very little to do with spite and very much to do with ensuring that capitalism is performed on a free AND FAIR playing field

      Capitalism is a unique and highly unstable state of affairs which must be carefully shepherded by governments - if left to its own devices it rapidly turns into the Saturnian monsters of Monopolism, Corporatism or Mercantilism and begins eagerly devouring its own children

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Prediction

        Adam Smith, the writer that many hardcore capitalists like to use to justify their nonsense such as "trick down economics" was quite clear that regulated capitalism was the way to go otherwise abuse would happen. Remove the checks and constraints and what do we get? Monopolies, abuse, a culture of bribery and corruption ("lobbying" in US political terms) and a scheme that is slowly losing more and more in the wider world. It either requires a determined revision or those very few that benefit will abuse, steal and hoard more until politically things become very unstable. From the outside, the US is already well along this path with the likes of an ex-president encouraging sedition and revolt, deciding that they cannot be held responsible for their law breaking and lies, and continuing to sow division and hatred among others for their own personal benefit.

  22. smeg_it

    Mainly, love EU regulation

    I'm an American, and we used to have a more democratic nation, we used to have some consumer protection. It was never perfect, but that's all gone. I get jealous when I see regulation from the EU that protects consumers. Off-topic, but I'm jealous of things you guys have, like retirement. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry during the protest in France about raising the retirement age. I was talking to a younger girl, and she didn't think much of it, she said isn't 67 our retirement age. I told her it didn't matter because most people (almost all none government employees) don't have retirement. She didn't understand that Europe does, it's mandated at different percentages per country (correct me if not correct). You guys also have health care and as far as I can gather, we are the worst in the world from a cost benefit perspective. It's all crazy; we don't have laws that enable living, yet it's just a shouting match between sides here with neither caring about public opinion because the corporate money is where it's at.

    There were 22 signatures; so that's 22 congresspeople, in those tech company lobbyist pockets. (I know most of congress is in one pocket or another, most likely many)

    1. HuBo
      Pint

      Re: Mainly, love EU regulation

      Well, Montpellier just started to offer free public transportation today (for all, at all times), which is great and should be propagated worldwide really. But the US does have a rather uniquely inspiring "spirit of freedom" (to be contrasted with the spirit of living in drab administration, gray as Pravda paper, with forgotten color film, or in XiXaX), and so the multiple beautiful babies, and their multiple bath waters, probably need to be carefully sorted out to keep just the right bits!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Mainly, love EU regulation

      "we used to have some consumer protection. It was never perfect, but that's all gone"

      The source of this is quite traceable: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/corporate-america-invented-religious-right-conservative-roosevelt-princeton-117030/

      In short: Corporate USA has been working on destroying all early 20th century gains made by American progressives since December 1940 and gained the upper hand with Reagan becoming president in 1980 (but the signs were there since the late 1960s with Prop 9 in California being the first shot in ripping up the Social Contract) - the first sign they were winning was the March 1980 destruction of the Air Traffic Controllers' Union

  23. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    It's all very well saying that gatekeepers (have they been watching Ghostbusters again??) effectively prevent new small companies from entering the market, but that isn't really the problem. Behemoths like Google and Microsoft weren't always the market dominating giants that they are today.

    Where were the EU-based competitors of 30 - 40 years ago, when it would have been possible to beat the going-to-be big boys at their own game? Did the EU lack sufficient garages in which for them to tinker? I doubt it. I also doubt that there was a lack of tinkering talent. So why aren't any of them in the gatekeeper league? Could it be that they were taxed and / or regulated into extinction while their left pondian counterparts were allowed to run riot in the name of profits?

    Taken to extremes, neither approach is desirable, and it would be better for everyone if both sides toned things down a little, a little less rabid data slurping on one side, a little less red tape on the other. The alternative is that those American gatekeepers pull out of the EU, which would lose them a lot of money, and would grind EU society to a halt. No Google? No Microsoft? No work gets done, but nobody will ever find out because there will be no Facebook either, and that truly would be the end of the world!

    1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

      there are alternatives to microsoft and google etc and if facebook / X leaves the EU we would be better off

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Where were the EU-based competitors of 30 - 40 years ago"

      Being aggressively bought out

      The Halloween Memo wasn't unique. It pretty much summarises the American approach to competition and was the quiet bits said out loud

  24. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    If American tech companies weren't trying to hoover up the entire world's personal information and profits, then maybe Europe wouldn't be upset with American companies.

    Heaven forbid the Americans ever admit that what they're doing is fundamentally WRONG.

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