Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Rolling Stone (and trained accountant) Mick Jagger were in Brussels Wednesday, to hear European Union competition commissioner Neelie Kroes warn that music labels and technology firms must do better in Europe.
The roundtable meeting was called because European regulators want to stamp out territorial limitations on the consumer’s right to seek out the best deal online.
“The European Union aims to create a competitive single market, where consumers throughout the Union can choose freely among products and services, regardless of national borders. The internet has tremendous potential to help to achieve that aim and it has already helped in many ways. But some Commission competition cases—such as the recent iTunes case—have cast doubt on whether the opportunities provided by the internet are being fulfilled or are hindered by barriers created in the off-line world without consideration of their on-line effects,” the EU competition overseer explains.
Kroes said “The people of Europe were promised a union, a place without borders: but on the internet they have not yet got it. Progress has been made; sometimes impressive, but it is not enough. As Competition Commissioner, I want to know why. If this is because the competition rules are not clear enough, I will clarify them. If it is because the competition rules are not up to date, I will update them. And of course, if this is because the competition rules are not being respected, consumers and companies should know that I will enforce them.”
Internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said “It is high time that we tackle unnecessary barriers to improve the regulatory environment to make the internal market on the internet a reality.”
And unless the sundry chiefs meet the challenge of doing business in a unified common market (as the EU is), then European trade enforcers will step in and force them too, Kroes warned
Jobs may be in Europe to attend Apple Expo in Paris, which opened in a blaze of nothing this week.
Will the market sort out cross-boundary issues or do regulators need to get involved? Do you see a similar role for the ACCC in Australia? Share your thoughts at the AMW Forums.