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May 10, 2017

European Commission investigates Google and Apple for unfair practices

The midterm review of the European Commission's digital strategy has found that more needs to be done to prevent unfair competitive practices by larger companies.

By Joe Clark

The European Commission has announced that it is considering a law to curtail unfair business practices by leading tech companies.

During a mid term review of its digital strategy, the European Commission said that an initiative to impede unfair business practices would be drafted by the end of the year. Among the key culprits are companies such as Google and Apple.

The news follows a previous initiative discussed by the EU to reduce the barriers currently facing online services to allow them to compete with the dominating US conglomerates.European Commission

The midterm review, released this week said: “The Commission is also using its competition enforcement powers to enable fair competition in the platform economy. Only last week, the Commission adopted a decision rendering legally binding commitments offered by Amazon on preliminary competition concerns relating to a number of clauses in Amazon’s distribution agreements with e-book publishers.”

An investigation conducted by the commission last year found that several companies were removing products from their stores without due notice or were not making search results clear enough.

Google and Apple both offer hubs through which others can sell their wares, but if these companies are releasing competing products there is a conflict of interests.

Last year Swedish music streaming company Spotify, accused Apple of unfair practices after the iPhone maker refused an update to Spotify on the app store as it would have undermined the competitive potential of Apple Music.

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The European Digital Media Association (EDiMA) lobby, which represents platforms including Apple and Google, said: “Considering online platforms ‘key gatekeepers’ deviates greatly from the progressive thoughts put forward by the Commission in its platform communication in 2016.”

Alongside Spotify, other European companies including Rocket Internet and Deezer have also complained to the EU in the past. Particularly as search engines act as primary gateways for these companies.

 

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