President Trump suggests European Union out of line in suing U.S. tech firms

Susan Heavey, Tim Ahmann, Makini Brice, and David Shepardson for Reuters:

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested the European Union was out of line in suing U.S. technology companies like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google, saying legal action against those firms should be the purview of the United States.

“She hates the United States perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network in an apparent reference to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager… “What she does to our country. She’s suing all our companies. We should be suing Google and Facebook, and all that, which perhaps we will,” he said. “They’re suing Apple for billions of dollars. They’re suing everybody.”

“They make it almost impossible to do two-way business,” Trump said, reprising his frequent complaint that Europe treats the United States worse than China when it comes to trade… The U.S. government is gearing up to investigate whether Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook and Google misuse their massive market power, sources told Reuters earlier in June, setting up what could be an unprecedented, wide-ranging probe of some of the world’s largest companies.

MacDailyNews Take: If these companies operate in Europe, which they do, they should obviously be held to account under European law. As for Apple specifically, they don’t have a monopoly or anything close to a monopoly in any market in which they compete, so no country or group of countries should be wasting time on antitrust investigations. It’s ridiculous.

Google and Facebook, of course, are different stories. On those companies, investigate away, EU!

11 Comments

  1. In 1991, the United States was the world’s only superpower, yet we used our power (by and large) in a reasonable and respectful manner. When we were attacked in 2001, the world leapt to our side. The European members of NATO treated it as if it were an act of war against them individually. Even IRAN offered its assistance. Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan had broad international support. We squandered much of that support over the past 18 years, but we were still regarded as a responsible member of the international community until recently.

    We are no longer the only powerful force on the planet. The EU, China, and various regional powers like Russia are legitimate competitors. Yet the United States Government under the current administration seems to think that all the rest of the world should kowtow to us and surrender their national sovereignty to put America First. Suggesting that the European Union does not have the right to enforce European laws on European soil is part and parcel of that syndrome. Of course, it could be expected from someone who thinks the Executive Branch has the right to dictate the agenda of the Legislative Branch.

    Perhaps we should return to the times when the United States spoke softly despite having the biggest stick on earth. It is not an improvement to tweet loudly with tiny hands.

    1. “In 1991, the United States was the world’s only superpower”
      Militarily or economically?

      “We are no longer the only powerful force on the planet”
      Militarily or economically?

      “Yet the United States Government under the current administration seems to think that all the rest of the world should kowtow to us and surrender their national sovereignty to put America First.”
      Oddly this reminds me of China

      “someone who thinks the Executive Branch has the right to dictate the agenda of the Legislative Branch”
      Oddly this reminds me President Obama

      “times when the United States spoke softly despite having the biggest stick on earth”
      When was that?
      The answer is ‘never, none more never’….

  2. Europe has in some ways a very different definition for anti-competitive behaviour compared to the US which is mainly why these large US corporations are being fined. Their different outlook is also why I think Europe has been unable to produce any company that’s even close to the size of Google, Apple and FaceBook.

    Quite often I find their judgements misguided, ultimately ending up constraining technological progress, hence the lack of large European tech companies. A good example is the proposed rule that all phones must have a USB port. On the surface great for consumers as they can use any old charger but bad in the long run as it prevents new and better charging technologies from coming forth.

    Margrethe Vestager has a long history of been anti-multinational but luckily she is leaving her post very soon. It will be interesting to see if Europe change their stance when they don’t have someone in charge that lets their own personal bias cloud their judgement.

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