Listen to Margrethe Vestager soul searching about her Apple loss

Kara Swisher, in a tough interview, gets big tech’s “tormenter-in-chief” to acknowledge it feels like she’s playing antitrust whack-a-mole.

Here’s a great opportunity to catch up, in 32-fact packed minutes, on Apple’s wins and losses in the European courts.

Podcast link: Meet Big Tech’s Tormenter-in-Chief

My take: Required listening for anyone who wants to understand Apple’s European tax and antitrust risks. I was surprised to learn how relatively powerless — depending on the results of her appeal cases — Vestager might turn out to be.

14 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    I was surprised to learn how relatively powerless — depending on the results of her appeal cases — Vestager might turn out to be.

    There goes her delusions of grandeur.

    With that revelation she can now concentrate on genuine violations.

    4
    June 10, 2021
  2. David Emery said:
    I think Vestager is the archtype Eurocrat, unaccountable official who thinks she gets to set policy and then enforce it.

    It’s people like her that make BREXIT look like a sane move on the part of the Brits.

    6
    June 10, 2021
  3. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Very informative podcast and I appreciated her answering the questions posed. That being said, I never thought it would have been possible to have an even lower opinion of her than I had before. But after this she is now below whale excrement on the ocean floor.

    She’s a shill for Spotify using the exact same basis as did Epic, by claiming everyone has an absolute right to set up their own store inside the App Store. She wants to “harness” the gatekeepers like Apple and let others decide how to operate the walled garden. One would have thought that her role was to protect consumers as opposed to corporations seeking to get a free ride on the back of Apple. She’s a politician in constant search of a cause. I so tire of hearing the word:”Duopoly.” How about: “Triopoly”; “quadopoly”….

    Who decides what is best for the iOS system? Hopefully not this person.

    When she talks about using “all of her tools in the box”, she ought to look in the mirror as she’s the biggest tool of them all. She essentially said that any acquisition of a company is counter to free competition if done by an American Tech company.

    4
    June 10, 2021
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    I listened twice. I had to because I heard a lot of swishy talk about tech abuses without examples that weren’t couched with maybe and perhaps. A lot of talk with essentially nothing said, other than tech shouldn’t be able to do what brick and mortar’s do. Vestager’s prime argument seems to be scale not actions. Then on the other hand she supports a global authority.

    The problem here is that a global authority assumes a global market. In any market, despite its size or geography, there are three, maybe four, dominant players. Global companies will always dominate local companies, just as national companies dominate neighborhood companies.

    Until China unleashes it’s own platform (something I believe they are working on) we have three dominant platform players: GOOGLE, FACEBOOK and APPLE. They became dominant because the consumer chose them, not by coercion or government intervention (until China steps into the fray).

    Vestager’s argument is that neighborhood/local companies should be able to compete within the framework developed by larger companies, in order to be fair.

    That is an ugly perversion of fair.

    6
    June 10, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    This interview was filled with assertions, distortions, wasteful speculations, and obvious logic flaws.

    Obvious logic flaw: Vestager says, “If I don’t like one supermarket, I can go to another” to defend her suggestion for legislation to require Apple to offer alternative App Stores in iOS. But that is exactly Apple’s argument; Customers can go to Android, or to any web service or to any other game console.

    10
    June 10, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      Yeah, it’s not like you go to Safeway to buy Kroger’s house brand!

      1
      June 10, 2021
  6. Jerry Doyle said:
    I am not trying to simplify what obviously & understandably is a difficult issue of alleged anti-trust behavior targeted seemingly by all regulators from Ms. Margrethe Vestager to the Honorable representatives of the US Congress toward the FANG companies. Some regulators’ concerns may have merit with other FANG companies, but when it comes to Apple’s platform I have difficulty finding how Apple uses its platform in an anti-competitive mode since there are other competitive platforms for whom competitors on Apple’s platform have the option and discretion to move over to if dissatisfied with Apple’s terms. Nobody placed a gun-to-the-heads of these competitors to get on Apple’s platform. They “willingly” came in droves. All knew the terms. There are other platforms out there if they don’t like Apple’s terms, but they obviously didn’t mind because they signed on with Apple. Now they have this greed epiphany that they don’t like sharing a 30/15 cut with Apple. That’s their problem, not Apple’s; at least it should not be Apple’s. In other words what bothers me is what once was considered “not” anti-competitive now is anti-competitive. What happened along the way? Greed?

    3
    June 10, 2021
  7. Joe Murphy said:
    @ “One would have thought that her role was to protect consumers… ”

    Regardless of where they are, in my experience, bureaucrats and politicians tend to see their role as staying in and expanding their power and number.

    6
    June 10, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      And in this case, her ‘base’ are all the companies in Europe who wish they were Apple and Google.

      A friend was a senior tech person for the US subsidiary of a French software company. The US side was profitable, the French side drove them into bankruptcy.

      3
      June 10, 2021
  8. William Baggs said:
    Vestager (On losing in court against Apple) “…you need to change legislation to get better results”
    Apple is guilty even with an innocent verdict so let’s change the law. I think Vestager is the dictator?

    3
    June 10, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      The problem with the EU is the way as an organization it’s structured, the EU Parliament does not have the authority to originate legislation. That is done by the Euocrats of the European Commission. Not my idea of a ‘democracy!’

      “Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess the right of initiative – which is a prerogative of the European Commission – as most national parliaments of the member states do.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament

      2
      June 10, 2021
    • Ken Cheng said:
      When one is convinced one is morally right, then legally wrong means the law needs to be fixed, to get the right result.

      1
      June 11, 2021
  9. William Baggs said:
    Vestager is a career politician. She’s been at it since age of 21. What does she know about tech?
    I give credit to EU for GDPR success and their mission for privacy but don’t get why they are attacking Apple. I just don’t believe this lady is being fair.

    2
    June 11, 2021
  10. William Baggs said:
    I don’t think Vestager is pleasant person. I think it was particularly inappropriate to use the pejorative term “dyke” when being challenged by Swisser. “Moat” would have been better.
    To suggest having two app stores shows how poorly she and her team understands technology. Stupid, dumb and powerful. A common theme around the world today.

    2
    June 11, 2021

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