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Europe has a love/hate thing for U.S. tech

Preston Gralla | Sept. 15, 2014
Europe has declared war on U.S. tech companies, but despite this all-out assault, Europeans themselves still love American tech.

European regulators may hate American tech companies, but European consumers are enamored with American tech for the same reasons that people everywhere else in the world — it offers cost savings, features and convenience you can't get any other way. Despite being targeted by European regulators, Google's market share of the search market in Europe aside from Russia is nearly 90%, well ahead of its approximately two-thirds market share in the U.S.

When Facebook bought WhatsApp, which is particularly strong in Europe, there were predictions that Europeans would stop using it, for privacy fears. Instead, a half-year after the deal was announced, WhatsApp's user base grew to a half billion. And seven of the most popular websites in Europe are run by U.S. tech companies.

French book-lover Guillaume Rosquin offers a perfect example of Europeans' love/hate relationship with U.S. tech. The New York Times reports that Rosquin frequents bookshops in Lyons in part as a way to protest against Amazon's market dominance, and because of how badly he says Amazon treats its warehouse workers.

On the other hand, he also shops at Amazon, telling the newspaper, "It depends on the price. If you can get something for half-price at Amazon, you may put your issues with their working conditions aside."

And that's the way things will likely continue in the love-hate relationship Europeans have with U.S. technology. They'll point their regulators at it, and complain about the toll it takes on workers and culture. But in the end, they vote with their clicks — and with their wallets.


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