European companies such as Spotify, Rocket Internet and Deezer have complained that online platforms – such as search engines and app stores – abuse their position as gateways to customers to promote their own services or impose imbalanced terms and conditions.
The Commission said that initial findings of an investigation launched last year showed platforms were delisting products or services without due notice, restricting access to data or not making search result rankings transparent enough.
The Commission wants to establish fair practice criteria, measures to improve transparency and a system to help to resolve disputes.
Platforms like iOS and Android are now often the primary way through which people communicate and find information, making them de facto gatekeepers of the internet. Since the internet is now an integral and crucial part of our life – paying taxes, searching for jobs, buying/maintaining crucial insurance, etc. – we can’t let access to it remain in the hands of companies with consumer-hostile interests such as Apple and Google. I’m glad the EU is looking into this.
As for Apple’s and Google’s complaints – cry me a river.
I’m totally with you on this Thom.
There’s absolutely no doubt that these companies are exploiting their positions to stifle competing alternatives to the point where competing against the incumbent corporations is becoming less and less viable.
The complex part of this is getting everyone on board with a solution. Some people view this ultimate consolidation of power as an intrinsic failure of capitalism since a competitive free market is no longer possible. At the other extreme you’ve got people who really don’t have a problem that corporations at the top control everything. And then you’ve got people who are just oblivious to all of this.
Whether it’s government or corporations, I strongly oppose having too much power in too few hands, that’s dangerous in it’s own right. I don’t know what individuals can do to fix this though. People are fearful of government regulation, even if it’s necessary to keep corporations in check. Additionally the corporations have been extremely successful in astroturfing anti-government sentiment. But deregulation has proven to have catastrophic consequences almost every time.
Edited 2017-05-13 16:12 UTC
And Google already does this somehow: let users install from whatever sources they want ( yeah, I know, you need to enable “external sources” on Google’s case)
If you have this, Google is winning because people *want* to use it.
Please, companies, start publishing your apps on your website/servers so I can stop using the Google “platform”.
In all honesty, I would make it illegal that you cannot install whatever you want on a device that let’s you install extensions/apps/whatever in any way.
I am having an ethics dilema on the search engine side though: nobody is forcing me to use Google or Bing but…. there are so *few* search engines that is a “de facto” forcing down my throat situation :'(