The European Commission has named today six tech giants whose market power it aims to control through its Digital Markets Act (DMA) — a landmark pro-competition regulation, designed to ensure a fair and open digital market for both companies and consumers.
The six companies are designated as “gatekeepers” of the EU’s digital market. This means that their core platform services: are active in at least three member states; gather over 45 million end users per month and more than 10,000 business users per year; and have an annual turnover of at least €7.5bn or a market capitalisation of at least €75mn.
Here are the usual culprits:
Specifically, the EU has designated 22 core platform services of the gatekeepers as subject to its new strict rules. These are:
- Alphabet: Chrome, Android, YouTube, Google Search, Chrome, Google Maps, Google Play, Google Shopping, and Google Ads.
- Amazon: Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Ads.
- Apple: Safari, iOS, and App Store.
- ByteDance: TikTok.
- Meta: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Meta Marketplace, and Meta Ads.
- Microsoft: LinkedIn and Windows PC OS.
The above services will have to comply with several do’s and don’ts. For example, they’ll need to allow consumers to uninstall pre-installed apps and replace them with third-party ones.
Another key provision is enabling business users to promote and sell their products on their own site. The selected 22 are also banned from tracking users outside of their platforms for targeted ad purposes, unless previous consent has been given.
“More choice for consumers, fewer obstacles for smaller competitors.
The gatekeepers will have six months to meet the DMA’s requirements. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to 10% of the companies’ total worldwide turnover. In case of repeated breaches, the fines can reach 20% of the above amount, while the Commission holds the right to adopt extra measures, such as forcing a gatekeeper to sell part of its business.
Note that the gatekeeper list is open and companies can be added or removed.
“More choice for consumers, fewer obstacles for smaller competitors: the DMA will open the gates to the Internet,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market. “With today’s designation we are finally reining in the economic power of six gatekeepers, giving more choice to consumers and creating new opportunities for smaller innovative tech companies, thanks for instance to interoperability, sideloading, real-time data portability and fairness.”