In the EU, new regulations aimed at limiting the power of large digital giants are going into effect.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) might force digital behemoths like Google and Apple to make their platforms and services available to other businesses and developers.
For instance, messaging apps may be obliged to cooperate with less popular rival programs.
Due to Brexit, the law will not be applicable in the UK.
The act will alter the regulations in the European Union for influential and large businesses, or “gatekeeper firms.”
However, some of the bigger companies are worried about how the DMA would affect security and innovation.
Smaller messaging applications will be able to ask the tech gatekeepers to grant their users access to the larger company’s platform under the DMA.
Large companies won’t be compelled to instantly make more complex features compatible, though. According to the projections, it would take four years until audio and video calls between two individual users or groups of end users on several platforms are possible.
Larger companies might also be required to let their customers select other app marketplaces.
Gerard de Graaf, an EU official, used the example of an iPhone user who should “now be able to download apps not just from the App Store but from other app stores or from the internet” in his interview with tech news website Wired.
The act was hailed as “a historic statute for the EU’s digital transition” by the BEUC, which is composed of various European consumer organizations.
It said that the new law will “rebalance digital marketplaces, boost consumer choice, and end many of the worst practices that big tech has engaged in over the years.”
It offered these two examples of the DMA’s modifications:
Google might be forced to stop favoring its own local, travel, and employment services above those of competitors in search results.
Apple might not be able to make consumers buy apps using its payment system against their will.
However, it emphasized that member states must provide the commission with the funding it needs to implement the new law.
The DMA will begin to apply on May 2, 2023, following a six-month implementation phase.
The legislation’s original proponent, Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner for competition, stated: “We invite all potential gatekeepers, their competitors or consumer organizations, to come and talk to us about how to best implement the DMA.”
The measure does not designate any specific gatekeepers, and the commission will decide which businesses belong under its purview by no later than September 6, 2023.
However, it claims that gatekeepers will be businesses that meet standards for financial size, user count, and possess a “entrenched and permanent” presence in the market.
Companies who violate the DMA could be fined up to 10% of their annual worldwide turnover for a first offense and up to 20% of that amount for subsequent infractions.
The DMA places certain requirements on companies deemed to be gatekeepers, such as:
allowing consumers to download apps or stores from third parties
preventing businesses from favoring their own goods or services over those of competitors
preventing businesses from pressuring app developers to utilize their services (like payment systems) in order to appear in their app stores
preventing businesses from monitoring what users do outside of their platform for the purpose of displaying tailored advertising without the user’s consent
Apple previously stated that it was “concerned” that several DMA clauses would expose our consumers’ users to unnecessary privacy and security risks.
Although Google supports many of the DMA’s goals for consumer choice and interoperability, it is concerned that certain of these regulations may limit innovation and the options accessible to Europeans.
The draft Competition, Consumer, and Digital Markets Bill, which intends to give regulators additional measures to combat anti-competitive behavior by giant internet businesses, was recently encouraged to be published by a committee of UK MPs, despite the fact that the laws will only apply in the EU.