The overt hostility among European opinion leaders to attention-economy companies such as Google and Facebook is not translated into use behavior. Their policy makers do everything in their power to slow down the attention economy. And they still wonder why their companies can’t cut it.
Google now has an 85 percent market share for search in the region’s five largest economies, including Britain, France and Germany, compared with less than 80 percent in 2009, according to the research company comScore. Google’s share of the American market stands at roughly 65 percent.
Facebook — the target of several government investigations for its tax practices in Europe — also has more than doubled its number of European users, to over 150 million, in the last five years, and the social network’s European user numbers now outpace American figures, according to the social media research company eMarketer.
American tech companies operate seven of the 10 most visited websites in Europe, according to comScore statistics. Only Yandex and Mail.ru, a Russian search engine and an email site, and Axel Springer, the German publisher of Die Welt and Bild, make the list.
Nonetheless, from Spain to Sweden, many of Europe’s millions of Internet users regularly complain about the dominance of American tech companies, particularly about how their data is used and shared. It also leaves them wondering why so few homegrown tech companies are globally competitive.