For as long as we can remember, rivalry has been an inherent part of human nature and even today we rely on it to some extent as one of the key driving forces behind our progress and development – be these scientific advances or economic growth.
I am sure that anyone can name a couple of them, but over the past few years there has rarely been a rivalry that affected over 2 billion people. This number is the estimated amount of smartphone users and the rivalry is between Android-based phones and iOS users.
However, we must not forget that companies often try to outsmart their main competitor, whether Android or iOS. Back in 2014, Tim Cook introduced Apple Pay; a year after that, Android Pay was introduced. However, in the Czech Republic Apple Pay was only introduced just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, if Android Pay had not been introduced on the local market a year earlier, we might not be enjoying the iOS solution at all.
These two solutions are still revolutionising the way we pay.
A few years ago, Czechs were afraid to pay with their debit/credit cards via the internet, worried that others would steal their money. That old-school thinking is almost gone, with new security solutions and other FinTech solutions such as Apple and Android Pay contributing to progress on the market.
Unfortunately, regulatory obstacles very frequently pose a major threat to the development of any industry, be it antiquated legislation as we have in the Czech Republic or new initiatives that are trying to catch-up with the latest technological trends. The latter is the case of the Digital Services Tax (DST) currently being debated within the EU. In this case, many companies have lobbied hard for a compromise proposal that would regulate digital sector companies in a way that would be reasonable for them and acceptable to the authorities.
However, the European Union is a political super-entity comprising 28 member states, each with its own interests, as illustrated by the latest ECOFIN meeting, when the DST proposal was rejected. As a result, some of the finance ministers mentioned that they will be preparing national initiatives to tax digital services, which might lead to the even more disproportionate taxation of digital companies on several markets. Sometimes not even the best innovators can overcome the mighty force of politics, which, unfortunately, stifles innovation for consumers.