European Union diplomats unveiled the final details to a new law that will force big tech companies to change in their core business practice, with significant fines or, in extreme cases, banning the worst offenders from acquisitions. The new Digital Markets Act establishes rules for companies that control data and platform access.
DMA rules set for gatekeepers include:
- Companies have to make their messaging apps interoperable to prevent users from being tied to one network
- Allowing users to choose a default search engine, web browser and virtual assistant when they purchase a new smartphone
- Assuring fair access conditions for their app stores
- companies will have to provide business users access to their data
- Banning the companies from ranking their own products higher than others
- If found breaching the law, fines of as much as 10% of a company’s global annual sales will apply, rising to 20% for repeat offences.
Diplomats agreed that “gatekeepers” include companies with a market capitalization of over 75 billion euros ($82.4 billion), 7.5 billion euros in annual revenue and at least 45 million monthly users. The act which takes effect next year will apply to companies such as Amazon.com Inc, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Booking Holdings Inc Online marketplaces Zalando and Alibaba could also be affected.
“What we want is simple and fair markets also in digital”, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said in a statement. “Large gatekeeper platforms have prevented businesses and consumers from the benefit of competitive digital markets,”
To successfully crack what the EU announces is a stranglehold on digital ecosystems by a few giants, officials announce they require fresh tools like the Digital Markets Act.
“From now on, digital firms must show that they permit fair contests on the internet,” Andreas Schwab, the parliamentarian in charge of writing the rules, said in an announcement. “That can be enforced more effortlessly with the new rules. This suggests that the time of long antitrust cases, during which the administrations were lagging behind the big tech firms, is over.”
Some of the industry’s leaders informed that the Digital Markets Act will cause trouble for users and be a financial hit for firms. An Apple spokesperson penned after the agreement that the firm terminus to be “concerned that few provisions of the DMA will build unfair privacy and security vulnerabilities for our consumers while others will restrict us from charging for intellectual property in which we get a great deal.”
Others have announced that forcing messaging apps such as WhatsApp or iMessage to be interoperable will influence encryption, or stifle iterative product design that is a hallmark of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship.