Margrethe Vestager came off calm, cool and collected in a very insightful interview with Nicholas Thompson for Wired and CBS. She was questioned on many topics and companies, mostly about Silicon Valley in the US – where she was a few weeks back. Tech moguls beware.
In the US press, she is hailed as the woman who makes corporate America tremble. She is also known as the Eurocrat who is reining in America's technology giants. But when she was interviewed at the very end of September 2018 by Nicholas Thompson, she had something slightly different to answer when asked if she felt the US tech companies needed to be reined in:
„Well they don't, of course, as such. We are only dealing with companies who break European competition law. Because my task is to make sure that consumers are not harmed, that they can enjoy choice, affordable prices, innovation in the marketplace.“
The Only One
Vestager is the only government official successfully taking these market-leading giants to task, at the very least making sure they play fairly. When asked about what she was trying to change about these companies and their business practises, she told Thompson that the EU want to ensure that:
„[when] you hold like 90 percent of the marketplace, the two next competitors, well, they’re the smaller guy. So you cannot misuse your sort of dominance, your dominant position, in the marketplace. And this has been the issue here in the two Google cases. We have seen a misuse of success to deny others the chance to compete against you.“
The European Rule Book
During the 30-minute interview, Vestager answered many questions in a straightforward and clear way. It was refreshing to hear answers from a politician that actually address the questions. She didn’t skirt around questions leaving the listener wondering how informed the politician really is these days. On the contrary, the answers came from a seemingly knowledgeable and down-to-earth person, who is simply trying to keep competition fair.
The interview is available here in full, but to sum it up, it goes a little something like this:
“Well the way that we have made our legislation is that if you want to be present in Europe, then you play by the European rule book. That's the important thing for us. And that goes for everyone, because for us it's not important what flag you're flying, or how you're owned. What is important is what you do on the ground with European consumers, if you respect our rules or if you don't.“