nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

back to article
EU regulators gearing up to slap Google with €1bn fine – reports

Silver badge

Chump change to Google.

The problem with fines for rich or monopolistic companies is that they really don't give a toss. Banks and tech companies regard fines as a normal business expense. What regulators need to do is evolve, and better understand what inflicts pain on corporate entities and their decision makers. Fines usually punish shareholders, and that's pointless because most shareholders are too small to be influential, and don't have the time or insight to become activists demanding change.

For banks and retail services, a straightforward temporary sales ban would be excellent - it affects many KPIs that the board will get rewarded for, and lower down the food chain it means staff are paid to sit around doing nothing for a while, and prospective customers realise that the company is on the naughty step, which they rarely do with fines. For Google, what would work as punishment? I'm not sure, but requiring them to permanently delete all instances of all data collected across the EU for the latest three months would probably concentrate management's minds a treat.

11
8
Anonymous Coward

Re: Chump change to Google.

I'm not sure you fully grasp the difference between Billion and Million...

11
4
Silver badge

Re: Chump change to Google. @Anonymous Fuckwit

"I'm not sure you fully grasp the difference between Billion and Million..."

Of course I do. But maybe you don't grasp the insignificance of a circa $1bn fine for a company that currently makes a pre-tax profit of $7bn every three months. If the trend growth continues, Alphabet will make a profit approaching $30bn this year.

If we assume that the suggested fine applies to only three years of operations, then in that time Google/Alphabet will have made total pre-tax profits of around $60bn.

9
3
Bronze badge

Re: Chump change to Google. @Anonymous Fuckwit

4%~5% is not insignificant when dealing in these numbers. They can afford it, certainly, but it's still somewhat significant.

2
1

Re: Chump change to Google. @Anonymous Fuckwit

To put it in perspective, it's more than their tax rate.

11
0
Silver badge

Re: Chump change to Google.

It's about time Slurp got a spanking. 1 billion seems on the low side though. They should make that per month that they don't change their ways...

0
0
Silver badge

"We disagree with the European Commission's argument"

Well of course you do. That does not mean you're right.

Making money is not enough when you're a megacorp it seems; you have to make all the money.

Feels like that is one of the things that are wrong with this world.

22
0
Silver badge

Re: "We disagree with the European Commission's argument"

I'll still be waiting for the practical logic behind the decision. It will have an impact on integrated data analysis. i.e. Big Data.

If you must outsource part of an internal decision, to competitors, or integrate their backends into your backend, that's going to get real messy real fast.

When you ask a droid in a scifi movie to answer a question, or acquire something, or get a job done, there's a hell of a lot of potentially competing data sources and suppliers that want that droid's opinion to be theirs.

On the flipside, UK is leaving the EU soon, so Google may not have far to evacuate.

1
3
Silver badge

Fines?

Perhaps 10% of turnover per month of non-compliance, or total share value. No point in basing it on "profit". Fines do NOT punish shareholders if they are merely a business cost and can be passed on to customers.

Perhaps fine the top executives 1% of worth per week... (Quango, Gov Agencies, Councils too?)

Fines do work, they just are useless if regarded as a cost of doing business or passed on to customer or taxpayer. They have to hurt the people in charge.

I think there is a lot of other stuff they need fined for too.

9
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fines?

Null route 5.0.0.0/8 for a month, might get their attention.

3
2
Silver badge

Re: Fines?

inetnum: 5.0.0.0 - 5.0.127.255

netname: SY-ISP-TARASSUL

descr: Tarassul Inetnet Service Provider

country: SY

That'll show Google Assad the EU means business!

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Fines?

For a null route list, you can start with:

dig TXT +short _netblocks{,2,3}.google.com | tr ' ' '\n' | grep '^ip'

That's not a complete list of gootard space, but it's a start.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Perhaps fine the top executives 1% of worth per week...

That would only work if you could figure out a way to stop the executives working out a way to indirectly be, well, compensated for the fines. If not at the same time, at some time in the future. We are, after all, talking about organisations that excel at moving money about so that the lady can never be found.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I agree that you may shove a cookie up my arse

The other day I noticed duckduckgo made a special clean version without all the nag boxes, especially for people who clear their cookies per session.

That's brilliant, and every site should do it. Google (epescially youtube) default state drives me nuts, and I must have clicked to fuck off the cookie notice (ironic) a million times.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: I agree that you may shove a cookie up my arse

Someone on here recommended Start Page, I've no switched from DuckDuckGo as their policies are more robust and I've found for me, as a UK user, the results are much better.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

So will a UK outside the EU

be of more use, or less use to Google, Apple, Microsoft and chums ????

Was what I found myself idly wondering was I read this.

Currently, the UK has some input, but post-Brexit ?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

So now in retaliation I wonder which European company or collection of companies the US will fine.

Place your bets folks.

Bootnote:

If those in the EU pulled the finger out of their arse and built a decent competitive search engine we might not be in the Bing/Google duopoly that we find ourselves. Where's Orlowski by the way, has he fallen down the toilet or something because it's AO that usually likes to give Google a kicking.

2
6
Silver badge

When I see a Google / Samsung headline ...

... I take a look at the recent offerings from one particular author. Perhaps I am not the only one because some AO headlines made it past my filter, and the articles did not call for Samsung to be found guilty of puppy drowning, Google to be tied down to a railway line or Julia Reda to be burned at the stake.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Governments must have new sources of revenue

Since tech giants do not pay a dime in taxes, fines should do just fine.

7
2
Silver badge
Happy

Before

People claim the EU is out only for American firms I should like to point out that the EU hands out fines within the EU too, cartels often the reason, but those cases seldom end up on ElReg and similar.

The Americans have a huge advantage with their "home" market of 330m people.

One of the aims of the EU is to compete with the "home" market of +500m people. But we are a bit lazy in that respect.

Many Brits probably believe you have to know some foreign language to use the EU market, while in reality more or less every site of interest within the EU has English as the second if not the first choice.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Before

"Many Brits probably believe you have to know some foreign language to use the EU market"

God, no. We all know English is the language of business and diplomacy everywhere and hence we brits don't have to bother learning any foreign gibberish. If they don't understand we just need to say it louder and slower...

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Tuesday...

Google gets a €1bn for anti-competitive behaviour... oh, it must be Tuesday.

Well, friday in this case, but the point stands.

1
1

Parasites

The EUSSR is as usual just using American companies to boost its income

1
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: Parasites

That's because us in the EU are weak, lazy and cowardly sheep. What we should do is shutdown Youtube, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, WhapsApp, LinkedIn, Amazon, Ebay, Netflix and the like. Kick them out from the EU and replace with local services. They'd be shitty at first, but would improve very quickly with all the revenue suddenly available. Then start making a plan to do without Microsoft and Intel.

People here are clicking mindless surveys in Facebook 16 hours a day. They give literally their whole life as data to US companies in order to use their services "for free". From the moment they wake up, until they go to bed, people are streaming data about their personal lives to the Americans. And US companies make huge profits by selling the data.

The US would never allow it's own citizens to become slaves to some foreign country. Why does EU not care? What the hell is wrong with us? We should at least try to do something.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Parasites

The US would never allow it's own citizens to become slaves to some foreign country.

You think?

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Parasites

The USofArse is as usual just using EUcompanies to boost its income.

TFTFY.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38412816

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9360580/Barclays-hit-with-290m-fine-over-Libor-fixing.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9735083/Standard-Chartered-pays-327m-to-settle-Iran-fine.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/epic/bpdot/9680668/BP-agrees-record-4.5bn-settlement-over-Gulf-spill.html

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Maybe someone could explain the law here...

Google offers a free service and shows what ever it likes (links, services, whatever) to people who have no contractual arrangement with them and then they get penalised for doing so.

How is that right? People are under no obligation to use it or accept what it displays. They may not like it but are free to use whatever they like.

It's hardly like Microsoft fixing their browser to use only Bing on an operating system browser that people have bought from MS.

Will the EU be going after the Guardian next for subsidising its jounalism with Autotrader revenue?

Or is it just more google bashing, because they can?

2
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe someone could explain the law here...

"Google offers a free service and shows what ever it likes (links, services, whatever) to people who have no contractual arrangement with them and then they get penalised for doing so.

How is that right? People are under no obligation to use it or accept what it displays. They may not like it but are free to use whatever they like."

This applies both ways. Google is under no obligation to offer its services in the EU. They may not like EU's attempt to protect its own economy but they are free to leave the EU market whenever they like.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe someone could explain the law here...

But is protectionism of this sort legal?

That's the point.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe someone could explain the law here...

"It's hardly like Microsoft fixing their browser to use only Bing"

Fixing the applications that must be in Android is worse than that.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: Maybe someone could explain the law here...

No, if a company builds an app on it's own OS, it has no obligation to also port that app to other OSses.

Microsoft gimped their useless browser so that you couldn't change the default search engine away from their useless engine.

The two are completely different.

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing