The European Commission, headed by President Ursula von der Leyen, has targeted tech giants such as Google and Apple. And the EU's constant war against the tech giants creates a bad reputation among technology companies, writes Jakob Kerren, FUF correspondent based in Brussels. Photo: EU Parliament. Source: Wikimedia commons.

FUF-correspondents, Chronicle

The EU's war against the tech giants could be fatal

Brussels has repeatedly collided with de global the tech giants. Ofta justified. But the EU should try to shake things up av sig the anti-technology image if you want to have a chance at it the race om the future 

I don't think I'm the only one who has recently discovered that the Google Maps tab has disappeared from the Google landing page, which you end up on when you type something into the search box. When I saw it I was surprised and thought it had something to do with a new update. When I then read that it was an EU decision behind the disappearance, however, I was not at all surprised.  

Google, TikTok, Meta, X, Microsoft, and Apple. All have ended up in the EU's firing window. The European Commission has demanded that Apple billion fines for competition violations and X have been investigated for not doing enough to curb disinformation. TikTok may even come to be completely prohibited as the EU has suspicions that user data goes to Chinese authorities who use the information for espionage purposes. The list goes on.  

The two laws at the center of the conflicts are The regulation on digital services (DSA), which is to prevent illegal and harmful activities on the Internet and the spread of misinformation, and The Ordinance on Digital Markets (DMA), which will stop the technology giants' abuse of the monopoly they have on large parts of the technology market. The purpose, to protect people from harm, is worthy of respect. Information on the internet must be correct, nobody must be harmed and fair competition must prevail.  

At the same time, there is another reality that Brussels must deal with: that the technological arms race has sprung from the EU. In an industry on which future prosperity, power and influence depend, the European Union is hopelessly behind. Of the world's 50 largest tech companies there are only four in Europe, of which three in an EU country. Ten are based in Southeast Asia and a staggering 35 in the United States.  

There are several reasons behind this, such as delayed investment in digital infrastructure. On a general level, the EU has also fallen behind in terms of competition and economic development – since 2010 for example, the EU has had lower growth than both China and the USA 

Regardless of the reason, this is something that the new EU Parliament elected in June must address. Part of this is to be attractive to both companies and skilled labor, which you cannot say that the EU is in the field of technology right now. It is almost like Silicon Valley in the USA where tomorrow's technological inventions are churned out and creativity flows freely. But no real counterpart to Silicon Valley exists in the EU. The question is why? It is always possible.    

That said, not all legislation that could be seen as anti-technology should be scrapped in the coup. Consumers and businesses must be protected. Fortunately for Brussels, there is no inherent contradiction between protecting its citizens and promoting innovation at the same time. Few, if any, tech geniuses are avoiding the EU because consumers are too protected or because small businesses are given the opportunity to take their place. The problem is that there is no attractive hub for technological development in Europe that can compete with Silicon Valley.

Instead, regulations are enforced that primarily annoy consumers. At the beginning of May, Google had to remove Google Maps from its search results, because in this way the company unfairly promoted its services. The broad mass is probably mostly amazed and, like me, annoyed that a moment of agility has disappeared. But for tech enthusiasts, it's another one signs that the EU is "ruining the internet" 

Sure, you eventually get used to cookie requests popping up everywhere, that you have to google what GDPR actually means, and eventually you also get used to the fact that Google Maps is a few clicks away. But when it happens again and again and the EU is constantly at war with the tech giants, a reputation is created, among technology companies and enthusiasts, that the EU should try to avoid. There is no time to lose in the race for the future.  

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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