On November 27, 2020, in Rome, Italy, during the outbreak of the Kovit-19 epidemic, the struggle against the multinational technology company Amazon.
Antonio Masillo | Getty Images News | Getty Images
When the Italian regulator imposed a massive fine of 1.13 billion ($ 1.28 billion) Amazon This is the latest in a series of moves against Big Tech over the past month.
The watchdog Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato stepped up its action last year with a series of rulings against e-commerce. letters Owner of Google and Facebook Died, For example, but not defined.
Case Amazon’s latest fineThe regulator took issue with a company that encouraged Italian sellers to use its own logistics, Fulfillment by Amazon, saying the regulator was abusing its dominance. This is an accusation that Amazon denies.
Renaud Foukart, a senior economics professor at the University of Lancaster in the UK, told CNBC that significant monetary sanctions at the time were part of the national regulators’ trend of working against large technology companies because widespread investigations across the EU would be “too slow”.
“National regulators want to show that they are active and that they are actually doing something,” he said.
AGCM is very active. Throughout 2021, a number of penalties were imposed on major U.S. technology companies. In a separate case, Amazon and Apple were fined Alleged anti-competitive cooperation. Google was fined 102 million euros for “abusing dominance” in its car software product and Facebook was fined 7 million euros for its data usage in February.
Sanctions vary widely in size, but they carry a similar message: national regulators will take action in their home markets.
But regulators like AGCM will not challenge their decisions. Amazon retaliated and plans to appeal the $ 1.28 billion fine.
“The proposed fines and damages are unjust and unequal,” a spokesman said.
Not surprisingly, some national regulators, such as Italy, France and Germany, have taken their own initiative to act aggressively against large technology companies, said Maria Louisa Stacy, legal director of the digital rights NGO ARTICLE 19. .
“Some competing officials in Europe tend to ask about sector or market research that they believe exists where there may be some issues, rather than receiving complaints,” he said.
He added that it was no coincidence that these investigations were taking place in highly populated markets with sophisticated digital audiences and consumers.
“In many of the big events we see in Europe at the moment, consumer associations or individuals have come together and somehow supported, if not started,” he said. “It’s a bottom-up push.”
However, he said there would be budget, resource and capacity issues as regulators of all lines are always facing obstacles with increasing digital workload.
Extraction of evidence and data, especially in the case of large global companies and big tech, requires a considerable amount of effort that can strain budgets and knowledge.
“If you put serial codes or codes on my desk, I can not tell if it is a cartel computing tool or not, because I can not read it. This can greatly shorten the process. “
He said he supports regulators in taking temporary action against companies, for example, ordering the suspension or restraint of certain activities during an investigation that could take years, without waiting for the investigation to be completed.
Other competitive audiences have developed specialized units to deal with larger technologies. UK Competition and Markets Commission, too Your actions accelerated Recently confronted with the big digital players, it created a dedicated technology division last year to research the digital giants. Significantly, the CMA has closed the door on Facebook in connection with the Giphy acquisition.
Although GACMs operate on their own, the dynamics of competition regulation in Europe, especially with regard to large technologies, are about to undergo a major transformation.
A Digital Market Law This is a comprehensive set of new EU rules that are still being implemented but are reaching the final line. It will be a priority for the EU Council, which is currently meeting with government ministers to adopt laws led by France.
The DMA will tighten the rules for large technology companies that dominate the market to prevent abuse – so-called vigilantes. It will also introduce additional scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions related agreements.
The European Commission, the governing body of the European Union, will investigate allegations of misconduct or crime committed by security forces.
Louisa Stacy said the issue of capacity and resources also depends on dynamic mechanical analysis.
“Almost everything depends on the UNHCR office,” he said. “Can the Commission do that? Again, the thing about efficiency.
Meanwhile, other national regulators – whether in competition law or in other areas such as privacy and data protection – continue to operate.
“The Germans are very active and the French have been very active in the past,” said Foucault of the University of Lancaster.
But he said many regulators would have to submit for a long time.
“I found out [against] One of those big companies, you still have to win on the court. They can appeal at the European level.
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