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Searching for trust: the EU and Silicon Valley. From The Economist Espresso. 09/23/2015



Photo: AFP

Günther Oettinger has some explaining to do. Today the European Union’s commissioner is in Silicon Valley meeting Sundar Pichai, Google’s new chief executive, and other tech bosses. The European Union is hatching plans to regulate online platforms as it strives to harmonise its fragmented digital market. American technology companies worry that the EU will discriminate against them in order to protect (much weaker) European online firms. Their fears are not hypothetical: Google stands accused by EU regulators of favouring its own services (for instance, Google Shopping) over rivals that rely on the search giant to reach potential customers. Mr Oettinger says he merely wants to ensure that big online platforms play fair with smaller fry that depend on their services. But how this should be done is not yet decided. Tomorrow the EU begins a consultation period; it will say next year whether new regulations are needed. Meanwhile, suspicion reigns.





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