Home / IT / Telecom / Tech/ Force tech giants to share data rather than break them up: academics

Force tech giants to share data rather than break them up: academics

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 5 April 2019 00:00


Bucharest (Reuters): EU antitrust regulators should consider forcing tech giants such as Google and Amazon to share their data with rivals rather than break them up, three academics enlisted by the European Commission said on Thursday.

The academics, who were appointed by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager a year ago to look at digital challenges, also called for speedier investigations to deal with the rapid changes in technology markets.

The advice comes against the backdrop of growing unease worldwide about the power of the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple to analyse and process data to expand their dominance.

Breaking up corporate giants has become a hot topic after US democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren raised the issue.

“In the digital age, having the right data may be one of the keys to compete,” Vestager told a conference organised by the Romanian competition agency.

The academics said that making it easier for companies to move data to competing platforms could be a solution to rein in tech giants.

“Requiring dominant players to ensure data interoperability may be an attractive and efficient alternative to calling for the break-up of firms – a way that allows us to continue to benefit from the efficiencies of integration,” they said in their report.

Vestager said she would review the non-binding recommendations before deciding on the next step.

On the issue of companies buying smaller rivals to shut them down, known as killer acquisitions, the academics suggested that enforcers should strengthen and overhaul their arguments why some companies acquiring another in a different but closely related market could harm competition.

They dismissed calls by some for tech giants, such as Google, to be characterised as an essential utility required to provide reasonable use of its service.

“We do not envision a new type of ‘public utility’ regulation to emerge for the digital economy. The risks associated with such a regime - rigidity, lack of flexibility, and risk of capture - are too high,” they said.

The academics are Humboldt University law professor Heike Schweitzer, Toulouse School of Economics professor Jacques Cremer and Imperial College London’s assistant professor of data science Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Politics and governance in need of radical change

Monday, 26 August 2019

 The very concept of an institutionalised political party and fans who blindly support it (under any circumstance) – raises serious questions about human intelligence. Human intelligence has powered great pursuits such as Artificial Intelligence a

Go digital now

Monday, 26 August 2019

It’s a no brainer. An agency head I know recently said to me: “The jury is still out on the impact of digital advertising on client business in Sri Lanka.” I said: “What makes you say that.” He was clear. He said: “No numbers to support i

No bourgeoisie, no democracy

Monday, 26 August 2019

In the dark, forbiddingly bleak topography of our dysfunctional democracy, the emergence of the National People Power (NPP) coalition is a refreshingly propitious development. The centre-left intelligentsia could not resist comparing it to the mass

STG who became SDG of the Central Bank

Monday, 26 August 2019

A hard taskmaster as Director of Economic Research When Dr. S.T.G. Fernando, fondly known as STG, was appointed as Director of Economic Research of the Central Bank in 1979, his fame – or perhaps, notoriety – as a hard taskmaster had travelled to

Columnists More

Special Report