Technology Companies Could Face Bans Whether They Don’t Follow Regulations, Warns EU Industry Chief

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Technology companies’ services and products could be banned from the European market whether they don’t follow European Union regulations, Europe’s industry chief Thierry Breton told German weekly Welt am Sonntag, as the European Commission finalises rules on internet companies. Breton will announce new draft rules referred to as the Digital Services and products Act and the Digital Markets Act along with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on December 2.

The rules will set out a list of do’s and don’ts for gatekeepers — online companies with market power — forcing them to share data with rivals and regulators and not to raise their services and products and products unfairly

The new draft rules come as critics of US tech giants, which come with companies and industry bodies, question the EU’s rulings against Alphabet unit Google, saying they’ve not curbed its allegedly anti-competitive behaviour. Some want EU enforcers to go further than just ordering companies to stop such practices. The draft rules would allow the EU to ban companies or a part of their services and products from the 27-country bloc as an extreme option

Until the draft rules are adopted EU antitrust and digital regulators do not currently have the power to impose such bans. “Strict rules should be enforceable”, Breton told Welt am Sonntag. “For this, we need the appropriate arsenal of conceivable measures: Impose fines, exclude companies or parts of their services and products from the Unmarried Market, insist that they split up whether they wish to retain access to the Unmarried Market or a combination of all of these.”

He added that these sanctions would only apply to companies that don’t respect the EU’s rules, and that the toughest measures would only be used in exceptional circumstances. In a signal of how much tech firms fear the new regulation, Google unit final month launched a 60-day strategy to receive US allies to push back against the EU’s digital chief.

Will have to the government give an explanation for why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you’ll subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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