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Takeover of companies, data, platforms: what new rules for GAFA?


Many players argue for imposing a middle path between dismantling and the fines imposed on Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

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EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager speaks at a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels on 8 October. ARIS OIKONOMOU / AFP

What to do to ensure that GAFA respects competition, if not dismantled? The European Union (EU) has imposed Google fines - 8.2 billion euros for its assets Google Shopping, Android and AdSense, while the United States sanctioned Facebook up to 5 billion dollars (4 , 48 billion euros) for lack of data protection. But these sanctions are now considered too painless for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple and their almost 700 billion dollars in turnover. Many plead to open a third way. "Fines are not an absolute weapon, " EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager summed up on 8 October. We are looking for even stronger remedies. "

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Faced with the GAFA domination, the challenges of dismantling
  • Supervise business buyouts

"One priority is to review the rules for authorizing business acquisitions," explains Isabelle de Silva, President of the French Competition Authority, citing the example of the buyouts of WhatsApp and Instagram by Facebook. The authorities have too narrow a vision of markets: they should appreciate the "market power" and the constitution of "large sets of users," she thinks. Instagram and WhatsApp realized during their redemption little turnover, but have enabled Facebook to accumulate today 2.7 billion users. As such, their redemption could have been prohibited.

In the United States, the state attorneys' association suggested in June that the US competition authority (FTC) require digital giants to notify all acquisitions or buyouts of a start-up. The idea is to prevent deals from falling below the notification thresholds, formulated in turnover. Some suggest instead to look at the redemption amount. Former Facebook investor Roger McNamee would like to forbid GAFA to enter new markets: connected cities, digital currency, etc.

Source: lemonde

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