The European Union has once again kicked a giant U.S. tech firm in the shins in yet another pathetic fit of jealous pique. Last time, it was Apple (AAPL), supposedly because it didn’t pay enough taxes. This time, it’s Google, largely because, well, European companies just can’t compete.
The EU’s so-called Competition Commission — whose name suggests the same level of irony as the Ministry of Truth did in George Orwell’s “1984” — says that Alphabet(GOOGL) subsidiary Google must cough up a record fine of $2.7 billion because Europe’s homegrown firms can’t compete.
“Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors,” said the EU’s top antitrust bureaucrat, Margrethe Vestager. “What Google has done is illegal under EU rules.”
This is a really unique idea. A company comes up with a great, new, innovative service that it does better than anyone else. It then takes advantage of that service’s uniquely inventive characteristics to help its own business grow and to benefit all its customers — something the world’s most successful businesses do all the time.
And yet, the EU defines that as “anti-competitive”?
This is nothing less than an attack on American innovation and inventiveness by a jealous foreign bureaucracy. And it’s a problem that’s not limited to just the U.S.
“Recently, questionable antitrust probes have grown like topsy around the world, many of them aimed at America’s most creative high-tech firms,” wrote Alden Abbott, deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. “Beneficial innovations have become legal nightmares — good for defense lawyers, but bad for free market competition and the health of the American economy.”