The head of the European Union’s antitrust operation has called for a global approach towards big tech firms to stop them taking advantages of enforcement gaps.

This is according to Europe’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, Reuters reported, who on Thursday also warned there was still plenty of antitrust work still to undertake.

Earlier this week the European Commission hit tech giant Apple with its preliminary finding that it unfairly restricted contactless NFC tech in iPhones to benefit of Apple Pay payment system.

Margrethe Vestager.  European Commission

Global approach

Vestager has overseen the EC issuing billions of euros in fines to a number of tech giants over the years, also said there was global agreement on the issues raised by large digital platforms.

“This debate is no longer a hot topic amongst competition practitioners but it has strong political attention,” she told a conference organised by the German Cartel Office.

And then she urged antitrust watchdogs around the world to work together to tackle the issue.

“Close cooperation will be necessary because we will not be short of work and we will not be short of novel services or practices to look at,” she reportedly said.

“It goes without saying that the more we, as an international competition community, are able to harmonise our approach, the less opportunity there will be for global tech giants to exploit enforcement gaps between our jurisdictions,” Vestager said.

Earlier this week, German State Secretary Sven Giegold said that EU antitrust rules should be made tougher to allow regulators to break up companies for serious breaches.

Law overhaul

It is fair to say that enforcement authorities in countries around the world have increasingly turned their attention to antitrust regulation for big tech firms.

The European Commission also recently confirmed it will evaluate its antitrust enforcement framework, in order to ensure it is fit for the digital age.

And the Commission has recently cleared a hurdle by passing the Digital Markets Act into a EU law, as part of a long-awaited overhaul of regulations governing the tech space.

The DMA still needs formal approval, but it essentially seeks to stop big name tech firms such as Apple, Google and Meta from dominating digital markets.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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