Discontent on Continent Highlights Battle Over Economics, Culture, Internet Control
BRUSSELS—From Berlin to Madrid, from London to Paris, U.S. technology companies are in a pitched battle with Europe’s sovereign states.
It is a clash that pits governments against the new tech titans, established industries against upstart challengers, and freewheeling American business culture against a more regulated European framework.
And it poses one of the greatest threats to U.S. technology giants since their emergence from garages and college campuses over the past four decades.
First and foremost, the battle is about economics.
Europe’s policymakers, accustomed to controlling key sectors of their economies, are struggling to get a handle on the fast-moving newcomers from across the ocean. Growth is weak and government revenues soft, and they see profits that once accrued to European industries from retail to media to taxicabs, being diverted—often lightly taxed—to Silicon Valley. They worry that critical industries such as autos may fall next.
The U.S. firms loom large. The market valuation of five U.S. tech firms— Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. —is $1.8 trillion. That compares to $1.3 trillion for all 30 blue-chip companies in the DAX index in Germany, Europe’s largest economy…. more
Adapted from WSJ