Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple to be grilled on tougher lines by EU antitrust regulators

The Commission has traditionally ordered companies to halt anti-competitive practices.


EU antitrust regulators are considering taking a tougher line against tech giants by forcing them to do more to ensure a level playing field, a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday, a move which could affect Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.

The four US tech companies are currently in EU competition enforcers' crosshairs, with rivals complaining about being shut out of key markets.

 Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple to be grilled on tougher lines by EU antitrust regulators

The four US tech companies are currently in EU competition enforcers' crosshairs, with rivals complaining about being shut out of key markets. Image: Reuters

The Commission has traditionally ordered companies to halt anti-competitive practices.

This may not be enough, especially in digital markets, said Cecilio Madero Villarejo, acting director-general at the Commission's competition division.

(Also read: Facebook, Google under scrutiny by the EU on data collection, monetisation practises)

"In fast-moving markets there is a risk that this would take too long to implement and be too difficult to monitor," he told a CRA conference.

"Therefore in particular in these markets, fast moving markets, we may design more prescriptive and possibly restorative remedies in order to ensure that conditions for effective competition will be fully restored," Madero said, without elaborating.

(Also read: US FTC Chairman confirms that antitrust probes are targeting multiple tech companies, not just Facebook)

On Monday European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said with hindsight she would have taken a different line with Google despite imposing fines of more than 8 billion euros on the company after a decade-long investigation.

"If I knew what I know now about Google, I would be bolder," Vestager told a Politico conference.

(Also read: California reveals Facebook probe, accuses company of hampering the investigation)

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