Europe is coming for Big Tech. Biden's victory won't change that

"Europe has turned itself into the cop on the Big Tech beat, repeatedly enforcing its rules and hitting the industry's top American companies with huge fines. That's not going to change when Joe Biden is sworn in as US president.

Because Europe doesn't have tech companies that can compete with Silicon Valley's big names or China's tech champions, the region's response is to try to exert influence through regulation, Eurasia Group's Peker said. The thinking: Europe is a huge consumer market, so it should have a hand in setting online norms.

"Europe sees an opening," Peker said. In his view, a change in administration in the United States won't alter the calculus.
On issues like antitrust, there's a consensus in Europe and the United States that more should be done to rein in Big Tech."

Why does the U.S. and China have powerful tech companies, but not Europe? Do they only excel as bureaucrats?

 

kel

Pelican
I might get called a lolbertarian for this, but it's true: big business loves regulation, because they can afford it, and smaller competition can not.

Anything short of executing big tech execs and their functionaries - something Europe has even less power and will to do than the US - is just going to end with more consolidation of power for them.

In the end I suspect this will just be big tech "agreeing" to obey Europe's hate speech and censorship laws, in addition to America's laws and the unwritten laws of the woke mob. So, essentially no change.
 
I might get called a lolbertarian for this, but it's true: big business loves regulation, because they can afford it, and smaller competition can not.

Anything short of executing big tech execs and their functionaries - something Europe has even less power and will to do than the US - is just going to end with more consolidation of power for them.

In the end I suspect this will just be big tech "agreeing" to obey Europe's hate speech and censorship laws, in addition to America's laws and the unwritten laws of the woke mob. So, essentially no change.

Exactly.

They "fight spam" by retarded GDPR red tape that only cripples small businesses and adds friction to online signups and transactions, but does not actually stop real spammers.

Europe will play like they are fighting Big Tech and establishing regulatory agencies and expanding existing regulations, and then turn around make have those agencies staffed by Big Tech/UN type candidates and have those same people write the regs. It's consolidation.
 

Pointer

Woodpecker
Why does the U.S. and China have powerful tech companies, but not Europe? Do they only excel as bureaucrats?


Entrepreneurs are hated in Europe. The whole continent is a socialist shithole and the wealth is in the hands of old farts. Remember that all big tech companies were losing cash for many years. You need angel investors to keep you afloat.
 
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paninaro

Kingfisher
Why does the U.S. and China have powerful tech companies, but not Europe? Do they only excel as bureaucrats?

Part of it is cultural. In the US, it's "cool to fail" and most successful startups are run by people who had at least one other startup that failed. You learn a lot when a business is failing about what really matters to the bottom line, and you take that experience to a new company and do it right the second time.

Also Americans are more independent-minded and risk-takers, so it's pretty common to see companies try out new products or features with only minimal analysis, and just pull the product if it fails and move on to the next one. Europeans tend to be more into the "analysis paralysis" form of decision-making. This works well for situations where failure is a huge risk (like building airplanes) but not as well in other areas like building another Facebook.

At my company, we have a joke that whenever we sell to customers in Germany, we know it's going to take 2-3x as long to make the sale compared to customers in America. The German customers come back over and over to ask more questions about how our product would handle some extremely rare situation. The American customers are more like "Well, let's try this for a year, and if it doesn't work, we'll just cancel it."
 

Pointer

Woodpecker
That pretty much proves my point. Entrepreneurs in Europe are tax cattle, usually the ones who survive after 2 years have found some kind of method to pay less tax or they are hiring cheap disposable "contractor" labor. The big companies are all outsourcing to CapGemini, Infosys, Accenture, CSC etc just because for every employee salary they have to pay another in tax. There's not much innovator talent in those companies.

Now Europe is a big place so I'm generalizing but I read some report last year that said you are in the top 1% if you make more than 100k EURO a year. This is in places like France, UK, Germany where you still have a slim chance of landing such jobs. In places like Italy, Spain and EE that amount is lower. A smart guy working in IT will make half of that in his 20s.
On a 100k salary you pay at least 40% in income tax so you end up with 60k net. Now your 60k net is only worth about 48k once you start spending it because everything in Europe is 20-25% more expensive than anywhere else due to VAT (value added tax). That's a shit amount of money to be wasting your nights or weekends in the office so productivity is not rewarded the same way as in the US. It's also not a lot of money to allow you to start a business. Companies also don't pay their employees with stocks because of stupid regulations. That's why if you are smart, young and single and you want to make the big bucks you go to Silicon Valley.
 
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Gonrad

Sparrow
^ Yes it's getting better in France since Macron is pro-startups but there is absolutely no reason to stay an employee in France, you get taxed a lot and yes there are not many people making 100k+ a year, especially as an engineer. If you want 100k+ in Tech you must be at least a Tech Lead or work in management. I actually received a 100k offer from a recruiter recently but even if it was true I wouldn't take it, being a freelance in France gets you much better bang for the buck due to the tax system.

By the way in France all the good jobs get taken by guys from CentraleSupelec / Polytechnique schools, the two best schools in France. These guys never really work as software developers except during their internships. They climb the ladder extremely quickly. When they create their startups even if it's a shitty idea they get lots of investors willing to fund them. If you're not from one of those schools, it will be harder, even if it's from the top 10 schools. You'll have to do the more "standard" way of gaining an expertise in your field, building relationships etc.
 

Al O'Peesha

Sparrow

Why does the U.S. and China have powerful tech companies, but not Europe? Do they only excel as bureaucrats?

I suspect that is largely the problem.

Dominic Cummings, until recently Chief Advisor to Boris Johnson, is now a household name in the UK largely because of the hysteria raked up by the MSM - think Orangemanbad lite - over his self-isolation with his wife at his parents' farm and subsequent drive out one Sunday, placing precisely no-one at risk from anything, let alone the elusive China Virus.
The fact that he was the head of Vote Leave, and therefore a Hollywood villain in the eyes of the hard left and their media enablers, was of course entirely irrelevant.

Anyway, I digress. His blog, which seems dormant at the moment, has some interesting thoughts on how EU red tape stifles tech and innovation and how he sees a new future for the UK after Brexit as a potential major player in technology. For example:


Britain should leave the EU members and Brussels to focus on the survival of the euro. We should, like California and coastal China, look to the future. If we do, we will soon not only be safer, more prosperous and more advanced than the EU — we will also be able to contribute meaningfully to humanity’s biggest challenges. Debates over the EU’s Single Market will soon seem nearly as parochial in the UK as they do when sitting in San Francisco. The EEC was created to deal with coal, steel, agriculture and industrial tariffs after World War II. The Single Market came into existence in the 1980s to regulate product markets in the pre-internet world. In Asia startups like Grab (car sharing / mobile payments) are transforming the economic landscape (cf. this interesting piece) but officials and MPs resolutely ignore the future that is, unevenly distributed, appearing. Brexit is the chance for a reboot of this mentality.

...

Could we do science regulation better outside the EU?Yes. The EU recently introduced its Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is much misunderstood. It is separate to the ECHR but it recreates many of the same rights in EU law with the ECJ in charge. This gives the ECJ carte blanche to seize control of practically any aspect of science and technology regulation. From AI to genetic engineering to cryptocurrencies, it would be crazy to let UK science and technology be controlled by the ECJ interpreting the Charter over the next 50 years. It would potentially be extremely damaging to innovation and safety. It will be far more dynamic and safer to take back control of all aspects of science regulation. With our advantages (universities, language, legal system etc) we could play a beneficial role avoiding the problems of US, EU and Chinese regulations.
 
Why does the U.S. and China have powerful tech companies, but not Europe? Do they only excel as bureaucrats?
I think the framing of this question might not get to the heart of the European position. We act in a fairly similar way here in Australia too ( In 2014, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) launched legal action against Valve because it failed to offer refunds to Steam customers between 2011 and 2014, in breach of Australian Consumer Law.).

The general idea is that we (and Euros) recognise that we have a large consumer market that is positively contributing to the bottom line of these American multinationals so we should be able to dictate some terms around how they are able to deal with us. It's actually an interesting cultural difference that I have noticed between Americans and the rest of the West at large - that there seems to be a major difference in consumer rights (and the government actively lobbying on behalf of the citizenry in this regard)
 

wannable alpha

Woodpecker
Why shouldn't the internet be regulated? Imagine if the auto industry said it doesn't need any regulations cause it hampers innovation. The GDPR rule is a good one. Haven't seen any rational argument against it. Letting the net be a wild wild west is what allowed companies like backpage to operate with impunity and Google (do no evil) to support them in their fight against the government.

This whole "platform, not publisher" concept was BS to begin with. All the social media sites and even porn tube sites are quick and efficient in removing child porn, but claim they have no control over what their users are publishing or find it very cumbersome to remove stuff from their site.
 
Very interesting takes from our European friends, thanks very much for the insights.

My guess is that Japan also used to have a very entrepreneurial culture until they got unfairly BTFO by the plaza accords (remember how they were on the track to become the number one economy?) Even to this day, Sony is one of the top global conglomerates and there probably would be even more if the Japanese had not gotten economically crippled
 
too bad europe is crap at technology. asia is supposed to overtake the americas soon for most high net worth individual, as soon as the economic beast that is china that just keeps churning out money. Europe is undeveloped and lacks proper agricultural technology. food security is a major issue in europe, and along with technology that is old and outdated. the two most developed regions and countries with proper medical services and infrastructure is asia and the americas. nobody talks about brazil, as they seem to be doing very well right now in the latin american and caribbean regions.
 
too bad europe is crap at technology. asia is supposed to overtake the americas soon for most high net worth individual, as soon as the economic beast that is china that just keeps churning out money. Europe is undeveloped and lacks proper agricultural technology. food security is a major issue in europe, and along with technology that is old and outdated. the two most developed regions and countries with proper medical services and infrastructure is asia and the americas. nobody talks about brazil, as they seem to be doing very well right now in the latin american and caribbean regions.
Europe under developed? You fookin what? Europe is completely exploited and developed. Unlike America, australia and South America that still have land to exploit and China/ India that have people to exploit. Europe has neither land nor an impoverished working class.
 
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