Jeez, Europe, what more do you need? Great universities. Fantastic transit systems. More than twice the population of the U.S. The finest cars, watches, wine, beer — OK, the Americans do better beer now, but still. So many glorious advantages. And yet Europe, as ever, continues its reign as the globe’s consumer — tech underachiever.
The heyday of Nokia Corp. and Ericsson AB is a distant memory, and Europe doesn’t have anything remotely comparable to Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, or Facebook, or Alibaba or Tencent, companies with market values ranging from $400 billion to $1 trillion and counting. With apologies to Stefon, Europe’s hottest tech business is Spotify ($34 billion); the only one into nine figures is SAP ($140 billion), the German maker of the world’s most boring business software.
The good news for Euro startups is that they’ve got their best chance in a good, long while to make something of themselves. China’s champions are struggling to expand in markets for which they haven’t adequately tailored their services. And Silicon Valley is two years into a string of unforced errors: fake news. On Aug. 13 the Associated Press reported the latest outrage — Google has been tracking app users’ locations and storing that data even if users change their privacy settings to forbid it from tracking their location activity. Facebook Inc. and Google are persuasively if unintentionally making the case that the world needs alternative visions of the future — all Europe needs to do is find some. Over the past few years, Europe has brought in the kind of money it used to lack, worn down some barriers to regional expansion, and built a handful of startup hubs in its national capitals. “Europe’s tech ecosystem has the talent, ambition, and velocity to produce companies of comparable scale to the Facebooks and Ubers of the world,” says Manish Madhvani, managing partner of GP Bullhound LLP, a tech-focused investment adviser. And still, many of the continent’s best efforts keep laming out or selling out too early. It’s worth taking a tour through this lovely land of walkable cities and missed business opportunities to figure out what’s gone wrong, and what may finally be right.
Europe is also no stranger to unforced errors. London, its largest financial and technology hub, has unsurprisingly been one of the best places on Earth to start a financial tech company. In the U.S., companies have to contend with each state’s banking and insurance regulators, and laws may vary widely. A company regulated by European Union financial authorities can operate in all 28 EU countries without applying to individual agencies. And since January, any EU citizen who wants to try the services of a financial startup can demand that his existing bank share his account data with the upstart. But, you know, Brexit. If the U.K. leaves the EU next year, that British leg up will vanish.
11. What can we infer from the first paragraph?
A. Europe could have done better in the tech field.
B. Universities and transit systems are the advantages of Europe.
C. The best cars, watches and wine are in Europe.
D. Population is a weakness of Europe.
12. The good news for Euro startups is that they’ve got their best chance in a good, long while to make something of themselves. What is not the “chance” for Europe?
A. Europe has found the money it needs and removed some barriers.
B. Brexit gives Europe another advantage to develop tech industry.
C. The Silicon Valley is involved in a series of negative news.
D. The tech companies of China still need time to adapt to the local markets.
13. The example of Google in the third paragraph is cited to explain that ______.
A. Google is no longer the pride of Americans
B. users are not satisfied with Google
C. it is a chance for Europe to build an alternative tech giant
D. Google has invaded its users’ privacy
14. According to the passage, why does Europe not have tech giants like Apple or Facebook?
A. The passage does not tell.
B. Because Europe rests on its laurels.
C. Because America has a Silicon Valley while Europe does not.
D. Because Europe does not have the business environment for tech companies.