T his biggest economic threat to Europe falls hopelessly behind the United States and China in adopting the next generation of technology. It is the view of many across Europe's industrial and financial sectors that are looking at the wondering proxy battle between the United States and Chinese authorities on behalf of their tech giants.
Business executives from Dublin to Warsaw are open mouths ̵
Some owe the EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, which technology workers now regard as one of their few true enemies. It was she who forced Apple to pay € 13 billion in tax back after deciding that the tax treaty with the Irish government constituted illegal state aid. Vestager has also accepted Amazon and Facebook, Google and Microsoft, and forced them to pay large fines or damages.
Last week, the former Danish MP said that she wanted to look into whether Amazon's business practices broke EU anti-trust rules. This is a separate probe from the study of Amazon's dominance of e-books. Now she has targeted Amazon's treatment of third-party sellers, generating around 58% of sales. An investigation of Apple's dominance of music flow, triggered by a Spotify complaint, is expected soon.
Donald Trump says that Vestager is motivated by a hatred from the United States. And some in the UK believe that this roll call to prosecute stifles the decision of digital commerce.
Evidence of either view is small. Instead of this being the EU that takes a tough line against indulgent US technology companies, Washington seems to have forgotten how to implement its own antitrust laws.
It was a time when Congress would seek to limit corporate power. Probably the latest Hurray for anti-trust campaigns was the use of the telecom giant AT & T in the 1980s.
The House of Representatives recently woke up to the problems of technical power, and only last week a subcommittee on the House's legal quizzed senior executives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
But while the democratically controlled house touches itself, there is little evidence that either the Senate or the White House has any appetite for a breakdown.
It leaves the EU as the only body with any power prepared to investigate the influence of an army of technology companies that handle an increasing number of commercial transactions, and store and manipulate data to further increase its dominance in ways such as few understand.
In an interview With this newspaper in 2017, Vestager denied that the signature of her investigations was to harmonize tax rules as part of a superstate in the EU or to interfere with technological advances. "We do this because people are angry with tax errors," she said. "The idea was:" Let's try to do something else in the system we have. ""
If the UK ends the EU, it will miss the Vestager's rigorous question of market dominance and data security. The United Kingdom will simply lack to take on the American handicrafts, although it is unlikely that a tory government will try to protect its citizens from what is breaking into the most colossal market failure in digital commerce.
As for Europe's lack of development some of its own large technology companies or even a robust and superfast digital infrastructure, Vestager, which has been promoted to be one of two deputy members of the new EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen, can Find yourself financially short and move so fast to create digital businesses that she did to limit the power of incredible foreign invaders.
Ashley and the wrong deal
Mike Ashley's takeover strategy at Sports Direct is confusing. It seems like bidding on any high street chain that strives to stay afloat, from Evans Cycles to sofa.com to the House of Fraser. Now Sports Direct's auditors are also amazed. Grant Thornton will have more time to complete the audit of the fiscal year ended April.
The figures must be published soon, regardless of "complexities" have been created by the integration of the House of Fraser. Sports Direct went on until August 23rd. But non-Ashley shareholders will want to see more than just the numbers.
First, they will have a plan for HoF beyond boasting about making it "Harrods of the high street". How much investment will be imposed on top of £ 90m paid to buy the warehouse chain out of administration last year? Can Ashley know how many stores are viable in the medium term? And since the help of landlords and advice was previously described as crucial, has it been forthcoming? Currently, the economic forecasts of HoF are a mystery.
Second, Sports Direct should show that it has the capacity to manage its now scattered empire. Karen Byers, a key lieutenant for 28 years, has left. Will she be replaced? One of the investor's concerns is that Ashley's obsession with new retail experiences leaves the core of the Sports Direct business exposed. JD Sports is now a FTSE 100 company; Ashley's creation is not.
Third, does the HoF agreement mark the end of the big deals? It should. Ashley's record as a buyer of stakes in someone else's business is horrible. The convicted attempt to buy Debenhams involved a £ 150m write-down, a financial disaster that would have cost other bosses their job. It won't happen, of course, because Ashley owns 62% of Sports Direct. However, he has a duty to demonstrate to other shareholders that he will not waste more money on speculative points.
Google brings Viagogo to heel
No matter how long the queue is to condemn Viagogo, controversial ticket site is marching, rudely and seemingly impenetrable to criticism.
Twice refused to choose committee talks, brushed off conversations for a boycott from the digital minister, and even sued global pop megastar Ed Sheeran's leadership. This week, in the competition and market surveillance and accusation, the regulator, who is pursuing legal proceedings against the company, was accused of being ill-suited to judging whether it is in accordance with consumer law.
But Viagogo may finally have met his fight. In the world of nebulous, seemingly unaccountable web-based devices, Google is very much alpha.
Viagogo has flourished greatly thanks to the use of Google's AdWords service, which enables businesses to pay to appear in the ads that appear at the top of search results.
Unwitting fans who are desperate to see their idols, often click on the first link they see, and never stop asking who they end up buying – often a professional tout charging massive mark-ups.  Now Google has responded to the chorus of concern for the company by suspending Viagogo ads, which campaigns have long called.
The result is that the site's website appears, has tumbled down the list of search results, making potential customers far less likely to discover it among its competitors.
It presents a clear and present danger to Viagogo's business model. Swiss law allows Geneva-based companies to keep their accounts secret, so the effect on the top line will probably never be known.
But there is a gentle response on Google – a short pair of lines offering to work with the search engine's giant to solve their concerns – was in stark contrast to the resentful opposition it has answered to everyone else.
It tells its own story.