EU auditors see uphill battle for EU antitrust regulators versus big tech

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust enforcers face an uphill battle in tackling tech giants abusing their dominance because of the difficulty of finding remedies, the EU’s budget watchdog said on Thursday in its first audit of the regulators.

The report by the European Court of Auditors comes as critics of Google GOOGL.O voiced frustration at what they say is ineffective enforcement of a series of EU rulings ordering it to stop favouring its own online services to the disadvantage of competitors.

Besides Google, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is also investigating Amazon AMZN.O, Apple AAPL.O and Facebook FB.O.

“Although the Commission has taken a number of case decisions tackling challenges resulting from the digital economy, significant challenges remain to be resolved,” the watchdog said.

“For example, practices in digital markets can cause damage to consumers. However, it is difficult for the Commission to find appropriate remedies to tackle

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Apple cuts commissions: Industry reacts, regulators watch

As regulators watch closely, Apple announced today it would cut its App Store commission for small businesses, taking its cut down from an industry standard 30% to 15% for those app and game developers who make less than $1 million a year.

The move could earn Apple points from small app makers who are hurting during the pandemic. But its critics were quick to point out that it wasn’t a big concession or one that would cost the tech giant much money.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney is suing Apple for antitrust violations and has said that Apple’s 30% take is excessive.

“This would be something to celebrate were it not a calculated move by Apple to divide app creators and preserve their monopoly on stores and payments, again breaking the promise of treating all developers equally,” Sweeney said in a statement to GamesBeat. “By giving special 15% terms to

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How regulators can get facial recognition technology right

Visitors check their phones behind the screen advertising facial recognition software during Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) at the National Convention in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

On June 24th the New York Times reported the frightful story of Detroit resident Robert Julian-Borchak Williams. Williams, who is African American, lives in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills and was contacted in January by the Detroit Police Department to turn himself in. After ignoring what he assumed was a prank, Williams was arrested by two police officers in front of his wife and two young daughters as he arrived home from work. Thirty hours after being detained, Williams was released on bail after it became clear the police had arrested the wrong man.

As the Times put it, Williams’ case is noteworthy because it may be the first known example of an American wrongfully arrested on the basis of a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm. Williams’s story brings facial recognition technologies (FRT) squarely into the ongoing conversation in the United States around racial injustice.

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Amazon charged with antitrust violations by European regulators

“We must ensure that dual-role platforms with market power, such as Amazon, do not distort competition,” Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s vice president for digital issues, said in a statement. “Data on the activity of third-party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers.”

The case, which had been expected for months, is the latest front in a trans-Atlantic regulatory push against Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google as authorities in the United States and Europe take a more skeptical view of their business practices and dominance of the digital economy. Last month, the Justice Department brought antitrust charges against Google, and Apple and Facebook are also facing investigations in both Washington and Brussels.

Many in Europe will be watching to see how the Amazon announcement is received by the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to pursue

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E.U. regulators announce antitrust charges against Amazon

The charges are similar to allegations Amazon faces from U.S. trustbusters, though American regulators have not yet brought charges against the e-commerce giant. Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos told a House subcommittee in July he couldn’t confirm that the company didn’t use data it collects regarding sales of products in its marketplace to launch its own private-label goods. The company later sent a letter to lawmakers saying it found no violations of internal policies that preclude the practice. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)

Vestager, a former Danish economy minister, has led the global effort to police companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple, though in the Google case the results have been lackluster, Google opponents say. Her allegations came a day after E.U. ministers approved $4 billion in tariffs on U.S. products, an unrelated decision that nevertheless suggested that nearly four years of angry trade relations under President Trump

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Online giants will have to open ad archives to EU antitrust regulators

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Dominant tech companies will have to explain how their algorithms work under proposed new EU rules and also open up their ad archives to regulators and researchers, Europe’s digital and antitrust chief said on Friday.

The move is likely to impact U.S. online giants such as Alphabet unit Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, with their treasure troves of data and lucrative online advertising businesses.

Advertising algorithms help companies target ads at the users that advertisers want to reach.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the goal was to shed light on how these algorithms work and to make sure that companies are accountable for their decisions.

“And the biggest platforms would have to provide more information on the way their algorithms work, when regulators ask for it,” she told an event organised by research agency AlgorithmWatch and the European Policy Centre.

They’d also

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U.S. tech giants will have to open ad archives to EU antitrust regulators

Dominant tech companies will have to explain how their algorithms work under proposed new EU rules and also open up their ad archives to regulators and researchers, Europe’s digital and antitrust chief said on Friday.

The move is likely to impact U.S. online giants such as Alphabet unit Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, with their treasure troves of data and lucrative online advertising businesses.

Advertising algorithms help companies target ads at the users that advertisers want to reach.

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European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the goal was to shed light on how these algorithms work and to make sure that companies are accountable for their decisions.

“And the biggest platforms would have to provide more information on the way their algorithms work, when regulators ask for it,” she told an event organised by research agency AlgorithmWatch and the European Policy Centre.

They’d also have to give

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Ant Group IPO gets the green light from regulators for its blockbuster listing

China’s securities regulator said Wednesday that Ant has received the green light for its Shanghai public offering, and has now cleared all regulatory hurdled for a dual-listing that is expected to rake in billions.

Ant, the financial technology company affiliated with Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba (BABA), plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Ant will announce the IPO’s share price on October 27, according to updated regulatory filings.

The listing is expected to set a new world record, surpassing the $29.4 billion float by Saudi Aramco’s IPO last December. The IPO would also be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s Star Market, China’s answer to the Nasdaq.

How Jack Ma built China's money supermarket into a $200 billion company

Ant said in its prospectus that the float will be evenly split between Hong Kong and Shanghai. The company will sell up to 1.67 billion shares on each exchange, which will account for 11%

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