July 23, 2018

EU Fines Google

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

“European antitrust regulators fined Google a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) on Wednesday and ordered it to stop using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals, a ruling which the U.S. tech company said it would appeal.” (Reuters)

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The left is divided, with some skeptical of the EU’s motives while others support stronger measures to rein in the tech giants.

Skeptics: “In imposing this admittedly arbitrary penalty... the European Commission is threatening to harm consumers, impede innovation, make life difficult for developers, and undermine the security and usability of applications, all in pursuit of thoroughly implausible goals. If it is solving any problems along the way, it has yet to explain how.”


Supporters: “The argument that the E.U. is going after U.S. companies for self-interested reasons doesn’t match the facts. It would be more accurate to say that successive Administrations in Washington have deliberately overlooked mounting evidence that the large U.S. tech firms have abused their monopoly power, and that the victims of these alleged abuses, including many American companies, have been forced to take their grievances across the Atlantic.”

The New Yorker

According to the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, “The fines get bigger and the fines get more divorced from antitrust law. It now seems EU thinks Silicon Valley is its private ATM.” But the research director at the Roosevelt Institute argues, “regulators need to be forward-thinking to prevent Google and other tech giants from solidifying future dominance in nascent industries such as self-driving cars.”

USA Today

Finally, there are differing views on the effectiveness of the fine. Some point out that “most users are already completely hooked on Google services. They are going to download the apps anyway." But others think “the ruling could encourage regulators in Europe and spark more complaints over the behavior of Google and other tech companies... content creators could be the next to take on Google over its handling of intellectual property.”


Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

The right opposes the decision, arguing that it will harm consumers.

The right opposes the decision, arguing that it will harm consumers.

“While U.S. regulators rely strongly on evidence of consumer harm, the EC operates under the notion that, even in the absence of consumer harm, if a dominant firm exists in the market, then it must behave ‘fairly’ — a nebulous concept that opens the door to micromanagement by government regulators designing markets as they see fit.”

The American Spectator

“EU law places a particular onus on companies that dominate a sector and tries to promote competition even if only potential harm can be shown...The approach contrasts with U.S. law and its enforcers, which focuses on demonstrated harm rather than market structure.”

Wall Street Journal

Moreover, “the EU defined the market very narrowly, as licensable smartphone operating systems. This definition excludes Apple’s iOS, which the company does not license... That means that the EU has ignored a major source of competition in its competition analysis.”

National Review

Perhaps most importantly, “in recent years, Europe has struggled to build tech companies and industries that can compete with the formidable Silicon Valley, leading to some suspicions that the EU is trying to level the playing field, or at least give their domestic firms a leg up.”

Daily Caller

Not every trade war involves tariffs. The European Union’s record $5 billion fine against Google for antitrust violations involving its Android operating system is protectionism masquerading as consumerism... To accept the EU’s case... one has to ignore the reality of the modern internet, where users easily and frequently download millions of apps some 100 billion times a year.”

American Enterprise Institute

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Millennials outraged after baseball team advertises 'Millennial Night' with avocados, participation ribbons and napping stations.

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