EU Must Be Speedy to Catch Tech Giants, Antitrust Watchdog Warns
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s top antitrust official warned that enforcers must move faster to tackle big tech’s bad behavior, hinting at how they may try to fix future problems.
“We must intervene promptly” Olivier Guersent, director general of the European Commission’s competition unit, said at an online conference. If you are too slow, “you impose a very high fine but the damage is done and there’s nothing you can do to repair the harm” when tech giants take over a market.
His comments follow stinging criticisms of the pace and effectiveness of the EU’s probes into Google. The Alphabet Inc. unit still holds a strong position over search and advertising in Europe despite $9 billion in antitrust fines, various antitrust orders and nearly a decade of investigation. Google is now facing its fourth EU probe.
He said regulators must wield “the right types of remedy” to order changes to company behavior, warning that business pledges or splitting off units are ineffective. He pointed to so-called “quasi-structural” remedies such as a recent order for Google to hold separate data from health tracker Fitbit as one good way of addressing problems.
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