Regulators in the European Union are preparing a 'hit list' of up to 20 large technology platforms that may find themselves subject to new and tougher regulations compared to their smaller rivals.
That's according to the Financial Times, which claims that the upcoming hit list is aimed at limiting the market dominance of tech giants, like Google, Facebook and Apple, and intends to increase competition in the marketplace.
In recent years, lawmakers in Brussels have become increasingly concerned about the growing powers of some tech firms. Lawmakers believe these companies have been abusing their dominance to kill competition. European lawmakers now want to force such companies to change their business practices, without a need to conduct lengthy investigation or to prove to them that they have violated guidelines.
According to FT, the EU's hit list will be based on certain parameters, such as the total number of users of the platform and their market share.
Under new rules, companies who find their names on the list will have to share their data with rivals and be more transparent on how they gather information from their users. While the bloc has not written specific rules yet, the move suggests that the EU is now serious about penalising firms that have become "too big to care".
"The immense market power of these platforms is not good for competition," a person with knowledge of the discussions told FT.
Another source said that big platforms have become invasive, paying little tax, and destroying competition in the market.
"This is not the internet we wanted," the person added.
Last month, EU commissioner Thierry Breton had told the FT that the bloc was seeking to give itself sweeping powers to control big firms. Such powers, according to Brenton, would include breaking up tech firms or asking them to sell some of their operations in the region.
Brenton said that such extreme measures would be taken only if it is found that a firm's market dominance was threatening the interests of consumers and smaller competitors. In rare circumstances, such companies could also be blocked from entering a specific market.
The news comes at the time when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is also reportedly considering a plan that could force Google to spin off or sell some parts of its business, including its popular Chrome browser.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Politico reported last week said that the DoJ is preparing to bring an antitrust suit against the search giant, for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online search market.
According to Politico, the lawsuit could be filed as soon as next week. The publication also claimed that the DoJ and state attorney generals are currently seeking opinion from rivals and other third parties on which businesses Google should be asked to sell, and whether existing rivals should be banned from bidding on them.
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