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The EU bares its FAANGs

e-commerce and social media have been beneficiaries of the lockdown, but there are signs that regulators are taking a harder line
The EU bares its FAANGs

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s (EU) antitrust chief, continues to nip at the heels of big tech. She has decided to launch two new antitrust cases against Apple (US:AAPL), looking at its commission structure on sales and subscriptions made via its App Store, and a separate investigation into the manner in which Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites. The European Commission has previously taken aim at Apple over its tax arrangements in the Irish Republic, while other US tech counterparts such as Google parent company Alphabet (US:GOOGL) have also previously come under scrutiny from European regulators.

News on the Apple probes followed an earlier report in the Wall Street Journal that Ms Vestager has also trained her sights on Amazon.com (US:AMZN), specifically the way in which it exploits data generated from third-party retailers on its site. 

Trading blocs are protectionist by nature, so there is a certain irony in an EU competition commissioner going after the world’s largest online marketplace. Nevertheless, it is the latest sign that the Danish politician is intent on reining in business practices, which my colleague Alex Newman believes are the result of “a long-sighted, often creative and sometimes brutal drive to dominate every market it [Amazon] touches”.

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