Some of the world's technology giants, notably the so-called "Big Four" - Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google - are facing increasingly critical scrutiny from regulators as well as politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. In the European Union, the anti-trust authorities have been cracking the whip. The latest case involves the music streaming service Spotify which last week filed a complaint with the European Commission claiming that Apple is abusing its control over the iOS App store to confer an unfair advantage on its own music service, Apple Music, over competitors.
The search and advertising giant Google has paid fines of over €6 billion (S$9 billion) since 2017 for abusing the dominant market position of its Android operating system for smartphones and favouring its own shopping services over those of competitors. It remains under scrutiny for possible abuses in other areas relating to searches, such as for travel and jobs. European anti-trust authorities are also probing Amazon and Facebook for misuse of data. In the absence of government regulations, tech giants grew spectacularly; and they argued they were able to develop products beneficial to consumers such as free Internet services and online shopping, the New York Times reported. But the counter is that the absence of a regulatory environment gave rise to issues of privacy and lack of competition.