EU Strengthens Rules on Big Tech Companies to Ensure Fair Competition
The European Union has revealed a list of big tech companies, including Apple, Facebook’s Meta, and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, that will have stricter rules imposed on their operations. These rules come under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), part of the EU’s efforts to regulate large tech firms to protect European consumers and promote competition in a sector largely dominated by American giants.
The Act targets 22 “core platform” services from five major tech players: Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, along with China’s ByteDance. These services include Apple’s App Store, Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Google’s YouTube and Chrome, and Microsoft’s Bing and Edge. They must comply with the DMA by March 6, 2024, or face fines of up to 10% of their global revenues. One significant change introduced by DMA is the requirement for messaging apps to be interoperable, making it easier for users to share links and images across different platforms.
Apple and Microsoft are contesting the classification of some of their services as “core. Investigations are ongoing to evaluate these claims. The Act aims to prevent tech giants from stifling smaller competitors through acquisitions, such as Facebook’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp and Google’s acquisitions of YouTube and Waze.
One key target of the Digital Markets Act is Apple, which will now have to allow alternative app stores on its devices, potentially reducing its control over software downloads and payments. Legal challenges are expected as these regulations are complex and will likely be contested by affected companies. The EU is also working on additional regulations for artificial intelligence as technology advances.