US president Barack Obama recently commented on the difficulties US tech companies face when wanting to do business in the EU, which is something that didn’t sit well with the European Commission.
The president said the EU intentionally set up commercially-driven roadblocks to stop US tech companies from doing business overseas.
When asked during an interview about Europe's investigations into the two US tech giants, Obama said they were "more commercially-driven than anything else."
The European Commission, however, believes otherwise. In an interview for the Financial Times (opens in new tab), the EC spokesperson said Obama’s comments were out of line.
“This point - that regulations are only there to shelter our companies - is out of line. Regulations should make it easier for non-EU companies to access the single market. It is in [US companies'] interest that things are enforced in a uniform manner,” said the spokesperson.
Many large American tech companies put their money in various countries in Europe to avoid paying taxes, which is something the EU tried to control in recent years.
The EU also tried to prevent companies from getting a monopolistic stranglehold of any one market – for example Google in the internet search market or Microsoft in the internet browsers sector (The EC fined Microsoft for not providing Windows users with alternatives to Internet Explorer).
Also last year, Google was made to comply with Europe's "right to be forgotten" which allows people to request their personal details are removed from the company's search engine results.