On March 30th, 2019, the EU hit Google with 1.5 billion dollars antitrust fine. During the past decade, the EU imposed several fines on American tech companies, from a 1.2 billion dollar fine on Qualcomm to a 5 billion dollar hit in 2018 on Google.
We believe that the purpose of the fines targeted mostly on American companies due to antitrust behaviour is to protect the consumer and small companies. It sounds very logical and reasonable to threaten companies not to use their enormous power to harm others. Perhaps the problem of EU countries is a more severe problem that fines cannot solve.
Take a look at the recent technological trends, some will use the term revolution and we can’t see any significant European company. The transportation revolution that started by American companies, Uber and Lyft, are a real threat to the traditional Europe car industry.
According to Forbes ranking from 2018, there is not one single European company in the top ten most valuable companies. Eight companies are located in America, one from South Korea and one from Japan. Mercedes-Benz succeeded to achieve 13th place, and the next European company is Louis Vuitton. Six out of the top ten valuable brands come from the technology sector.
Three American company’s broke the glass ceiling last year and reached an unprecedented market value of over 1 trillion dollars. The combined value market of the top 5 American companies high tech companies: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon worth 4.4 trillion billion dollars. If we compare it to the largest European companies, we can see that the most valuable company is Nestle which worth 300 billion dollars.
Hight tech giant companies have started to spill into the traditional sector. For instance, Apple launched a credit card, Google and Uber invested billions of dollars on autonomous cars which will be a direct competitor for the traditional car manufacturers, and Amazon began opening retail stores. Are Volkswagen, Mastercard, and H&M ready for the American invasion?
If we look at the recent technological revolution, none of them started in Europe. From social network to smartphones, e-commerce and the self-driving car, this whole vital revolution was launched in the U.S. This is a serious wake-up call for EU decision makers.
Europe, the home of brilliant inventions, from the telegraph to photography, should reinvent itself. Five of the top ten best universities are located in Europe. Europe has the human capital, resources and knowledge to become once again an important and inventive continent
The E.U decision makers should do everything to lead the upcoming revolution that includes space tourism, quantum computing and autonomous. Right now Europe has fallen behind.