Yes, it would cause chaos in France, but it would also really hurt Google.
In Australia, the Big Four banks applied to the consumer watchdog for permission to team together and negotiate as a block - form a cartel - to Apple over Apple Pay and NFC access. The banks were denied, and just last month the biggest bank added Apple Pay support (after a number of the 'smaller' ones added it).
- Seizing all company assets, offices, source code, etc.
- Breaking the company up and promoting in-borders employees into management positions, etc.
The Jamal Khashoggi tragedy is a very recent example that this has been the sentiment for some time.
On the one hand I think foreign countries griefing American businesses with arbitrary fines is lame. Perhaps they should start their own tech industries instead of leeching off ours. On the other hand, the notion of corporations having enough leverage to dominate sovereign countries - that's scary as hell. There has to be some kind of happy medium here.
If Amazon refuses to give back someone's data; if they are a government entity they show up to the Datacenter and put a gun to someones head. If they are a private entity, the sue Amazon, win, and then get a court order which they can have the police enforce.
If the value of Amazon in France is their customer list, then the government always will have more "customers" enlisted.
The power of FANG is always one government decision away from being relativly zero to today. The opposit is hardly true except in really small or unstable states.
Dynasty of emperors so detached from reality that the nation is willing to go to a civil war just to get rid of them?
God bless FANG realise that their power over people is only there because they are providing free services that are for still useful.
The moment those companies decide to play politics we, as a society, have already invented numerous methods of getting rid of the abusers of power.
And let’s be honest: neither of those companies are making such a huge difference that we would ceise existing as a society if they perished. We would take a hit, but we would still function.
Also, many years ago, Google ghosted CNET because they didn't like their reporting. They didn't blacklist them from results, but it was an option.
Uh, where'd you get that from? The company has an obligation to act in the the interest of shareholders, but "interest" doesn't necessarily mean "money." Moreover, that's not its _only_ obligation. This guy seems to agree:
But what if they really tried to do it? Well, the most likely outcome would be the US government declaring Google a risk to national security, and taking direct control. After all if this could happen to France, it could happen to the US, and governments of sovereign states really really hate non-state competitors that could potentially meddle with the operation of the state.
After that, whatever remains of Google would probably be auctioned off to cover the costs of the backlash (and probable legal action) from Google's corporate clients.
Would it be a thread to US national security in the same way it could be to France? It might depend how the President at the time is and where their campaign funding came from.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Proves Just How Easily Corporate PAC Money Can Influence Politics
And yes, having a company with the power and will to "digitally coup" world powers would be an immediate threat to national security, no question about that.
I don't know where you got the nationalization part from: U.S. courts and law enforcement are perfectly capable of taking temporary control of companies' resources in an effort to stop or prevent criminal activity, and none of that involves nationalizing anything.
Now the question is, when will it be worth it for an all-powerful multinational corporation like Google to say fuck it and use their power to influence government policy on a global level? How much money or what would have to be at stake for them to turn their back on "Don't be evil"?
I'd have to quit hosting my things on Google's cloud, app engine, Google drive, analytics, etc, if I expected people in France to be able to see it.
Google removed 'Don't be evil' from its code of conduct last year. Hopefully not a sign of things to come
Refusal of service?
I don't know anything that would make people run to another service faster.
Which is why I think it was only a token 0.05% of global revenue for the fine rather than 4%
It's not even funny. If compliance is bad business for you, well, your other choice is to not have business.
Wonder what shareholders would say, but not too much. Not one of them.
But say instead France asks for 4% of global revenue, and there are rumblings from Spain, Italy, Germany, UK, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Denmark and Greece that if France is successful they will do the same.
Suddenly the potential fines are 40% of global revenue, but Europe doesn't generate 40% of global revenue.
I mean, if somehow Google would manage to pay biggest possible fine without changing practices, I'd expect the law updated to bigger fines.
And if they refused to pay, I imagine new laws would be passed to force compliance...such as criminal penalties against corporate executives and board members who choose to leave the fines unpaid.
Sundar Pichai's going to have Google pay up if the alternative is that he could end up in a French jail.
All that the EU has served to accomplish is to kill tech in Europe, place popups and opt-in buttons onto every website (accept cookies?), and to extort a few billions out of American tech companies.
Europe can't do tech because its taxes on labour are too high and the whole continent speaks 30 different languages. There, I said it.
This is the dystopia we have built. We have allowed corporations to have to much leverage and control.
It's like AMI trying to blackmail Jeff Bezos, but having all of their sites hosted with AWS ....
What happens when it makes business sense for Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook to start charging nation states a license fee for offering their services into their country and all the government services rely on their cloud offerings?
Because you thumb your nose at nation-states at your peril.
It's the Zeroth law of the Economy. There's economic activity when you aren't getting shot at. If Google starts making sufficient waves that enough diplomatic pressure can be put on their host country to start tightening the thumbscrews, Google will be faced with a situation where suddenly a lot of it's worth and value start to disappear. If they start having to hire lawyers left and right due to scrutiny by the government or other governments, it becomes a less attractive asset to the market, and opens room for intrepid disruptors to replace their services.
Google has 'won' by being willing to play ball. Once hard ball starts being played, make no mistake. Google will get tipped.
...and if it doesn't, God save us all from the paths that leads to. I'm pretty sure they won't be pretty.
Google do have the mind share though, can you imagine trying to explain to Aunty Robyn that you have to type duckduckgo.com into the search bar now? and that she cant google it anymore?
In fact, it's less user-hostile than most commercial sites.
Why is that?
* Disclaimer - I'm British
I don't think it's the case that the government is simply unable to do something like this, I just think they don't provide the right incentives like competitive pay and bonuses.
In the private sector, say in finance, if you're good and you work for the firm for awhile you could get promoted to managing director and make anywhere from a million to ten million in bonuses for the year. If you're a productive manager in government, you don't really get paid much more than anyone else.
The main benefit that government provides its employees is good benefits (healthcare, pensions) and job stability. It's unlikely that you will ever get fired unless for some very gross misconduct.
I think this incentive system attracts the wrong kind of people into government: those who just want a stable paycheck instead of those driven to produce value.
If we just raised government salaries or if the government gave out significant performance bonuses, the government would work a lot better and be much more efficient.
I do get your underlying point, but gov.uk has been near-universally lauded as “doing it right” - I think it’s important to take it as an example of “this is actually possible”, rather than brushing it off.
It would be rather disingenuous to heap any level of universal praise upon gov.uk projects, especially considering the high profile foobars reported on a regular basis. This is just one fresh example: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/08/ir35_tax_check_test...
Despite having a common UI/UX for the front-end, most of the development is conducted by different suppliers e.g. Capita, Cap Gemini, Fujitsu et al.