The EU Plays Itself

The DMA is the latest in the series of stupidity that will doom the region
The E.U. Goes Too Far
Recent E.U. regulatory decisions cross the line from market correction to property theft; if the E.U. continues down this path they are likely to see fewer new features and no new companies.

Anyone who has been following along here since day one will not be surprised that I agree with basically all of this.1 If anything, I'd go more forceful than Ben does in pointing out how myopic and self-defeating this all will end up being for the EU. And how utterly ridiculous it is that the US doesn't step in to stop it.

Even before this site existed, I've long argued that Apple was foolish for not proactively making changes to the App Store to get ahead of demands like these from the EU (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the world, including the US). They should have done it both because Apple's rules were (rather arbitrarily) written for a very different mobile world and because developers were and remain the lifeblood of the app ecosystem. Instead, bad blood now flows like wine as Spotify whines nonstop to Brussels to get its way and Epic attempts to bleed Apple dry by papercuts.

Apple often comes off looking like a bully when it should be the EU which is getting ridiculed for rules which are ultimately only going to either stall innovation, create a bifurcated computing experience for EU users, or both.

That's the thing, let's just fast-forward 10 years and play all of this out. If the EU gets its way, either Big Tech will pull products out of the region in order to avoid billions of dollars in fines or they'll simply not launch new products and services in the area. Perhaps for the biggest money-makers, they'll launch them eventually, but only after they're neutered to the point where the EU can't possibly fine them. All of this will suck for Big Tech, sure. But it will really suck for the citizens in those countries.

This is where some subset of those users will chime in that this is all a good thing, and going to plan for the EU. They'll do this on places like Threads, which Meta was forced to launch in the area months after the rest of the world due to the above issues. Yes, it's there now, but how many times is Meta, or any of these players, going to jump through such hoops? Apple is the latest with their new AI functionality, which will either be coming later to the EU, or not at all. We'll see how it goes.

Again, some folks think they're happy about this. They love the warm blanket of the Nanny state. But I'm telling you that in those 10 years, this is going to be catastrophic to the region on so many levels. The difference in functionality will effectively cut off the region from the rest of the world in many regards. And the second-order effects will be worse, with investment and productivity dropping from their already anemic levels. This sounds like hyperbole. But I deal in bets. If all goes to plan with these EU policies, I would very much take this bet over the next decade.

Perhaps a change in leadership changes all of this. One can hope. But both the policies and rhetoric seem to be getting worse over time, not better. AI is likely to push all of this to even greater extremes as it's both the ultimate tech bogeyman for the 21st century and the focus of basically every single tech company. Naturally, the EU is moving to regulate it before they can even define it. Good luck.

1 Including, and perhaps especially, the annoyance over the constant barrage of pop-ups while trying to use the web in Europe. While Ben was simply visiting, I now live this life. Which, naturally, has led me to apps and browser extentions to block this nonsense that numbed everyone over here years ago to the point of being beyond pointless.