Today, we see another demonstration of the European Commission collecting money for its general funds by preying on American companies. The EU decided to fine Intel 1.5 billion dollars for “abuse of monopoly power.” Apparently Intel offered volume discounts to retailers and computer manufacturers (a rebate if you bought a lot from them), and apparently that’s illegal. The EC believes bulk discounts hurt consumers, and that is its basis for the fines.
Just in January, they fined Microsoft 2 billion dollars for a similar assertion, except it was for including Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player with their operating system. Neither pay exorbitant executive packages, so their revenues are recycled back into research and development (Intel has pretty nice chips now), given out as discounts, and used to pay their 3% dividend. The 3.5 billion dollar fine is 3.5 that R&D, consumers and investors aren’t getting. That’s 12 dollars for every American, 110 dollar for every Californian and 300 for every working Californian adult!
It’s unfair that the EC can force money transfer from us to them. They are obviously desperate for money to fund their recession programs. We are too, so why don’t we fine their IT firms? Oh yeah, they don’t have any that are worthy of fining. SAP comes closest, but even it cannot remain independent.
This sucks. I don’t like the idea of a foreign commission collecting money that is ours, either in more R&D, consumer discounts, investor rewards, or more employment. Since when was it OK to force successful foreign companies to pay for our general services? Never? Good. So the EC shouldn’t do it either.