European Union Is Deciding to Govern E-Company Giants

European Union

The European Union (EU) is deciding whether or not to closer govern some of the world’s largest e-company giants including, Inc. and Google Inc., according to a document that was leaked to the Wall Street Journal, as well as Quartz. This document, which had been written in February, was written to Gunther Oettinger and it refers to a “point of no return,” tying EU’s economy to a handful of major Internet companies.

The report continues by saying certain digital businesses are becoming Internet powerhouses that will be of integral importance. The report shows that the European Union is intimidated by the presence of the United States on the Internet, and it is only the beginning. The EU wants to govern these targeted e-companies because they are U.S. owned and they are worried about their own economy. A professor from the Schulich School of Business says that if this behavior concerns what happens when someone initiates a Google search, this will further effect the consumer.

Europe will be moving against Google soon through their competition regulator used for the Internet. Even though it has been said that a settlement might be possible, formal charges have been filed against Google. This began the European Union’s highest-profile antitrust suit since it faced off with Microsoft. Google, however,  is denying being involved in anticompetitive behavior. There are European governments that are planning to install a “Google tax” on copyright and overseas tax issues. A European court has said that Google needs to put into action a right to be forgotten.

Uber has several legal issues with the EU that include bans on its ride-sharing services in several countries. The California car-hailing company has filed a multitude of complaints with the regulators in Brussels against EU governments that claims to have violated the bloc’s laws by seeking to ban some of services. It is expected that some European legislatures will modernize transport rules.

There are privacy watchdogs from Spain, Italy and France, that have recently joined a group of regulators that are probing social media networking firm’s privacy practices, this action has doubled the number of European countries that are involved in the legal issues. The investigations against Facebook could lead to formal orders, forcing Facebook to change their business practices and endure possible fines. Facebook has said that it follows the EU privacy laws, and is regularly audited by the privacy regulator in Ireland, where European operations are based. Inc. has tax arrangements with Luxembourg that could give the U.S. online retailer illegal advantages over its competitors, EU regulators reported in January. The European Union criticized Amazon’s 2003 tax agreement with Luxembourg, which is still in effect. Amazon has said that the allegations of state aid are not substantiated.

In 2014, the European Union said it reached the “preliminary view” that tax deals that had been made with Apple in Ireland, in 1991 and 2007 had established illegal state support. Apple has stated it has not received any preferential treatment from Ireland over the years, and it deals with the same tax laws as every other company that does business in Ireland. Antitrust authorities are going through Apple’s agreements with record labels, as Apple prepares to launch a music-streaming service that requires a subscription.

TripAdvisor Inc. is also being targeted. According to the European Union, TripAdvisor is the primary point of entry to the travel district, online and they charge fees with full judgement. It is possible that as the EU endeavor continues these cases, more e-commerce Giants could be added to the list.

By Jeanette Smith


Wall Street Journal

Financial Post


Photo courtesy of Stuart Chalmers – Creativecommons Flickr License