The European Commission has published a list of digital giants that will be subject to the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules from next year, aimed at combating anti-competitive practices. In total, they have submitted a list of six “guardians” who now have six months to submit a study detailing the measures they will take to ensure compliance with the new rules.
The adoption of these new rules in July 2022 aims to streamline the sanctioning process for large technology platforms and avoid the lengthy procedures as before. The DMA is now responsible for identifying and sanctioning anti-competitive behavior that has already been identified in various industries.
The European Union has appointed guardians according to the following definition: “Providing an important gateway between businesses and consumers regarding core platform services«. In addition, they meet requirements such as: used by more than 45 million Europeans, having at least 10,000 professional customers, being worth more than 75,000 million euros or having earned more than 7,500 million euros in Europe in the last three years.
Who are the guardians of the EU?
The gatekeepers are primarily large technology companies, including: Google, Apple, Facebook, ByteDance, Amazon and Microsoft.
«With today’s designation, we are finally reining in the economic power of six gatekeepers, giving consumers more choice and creating new opportunities for smaller innovative technology companies, such as interoperability, data transfer, real-time data portability and equity. It is time for Europe to set the rules from the start to ensure that digital markets are fair and open» says Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market.
These platforms must comply with obligations such as:
- Provide companies that advertise on its platform with the tools and information advertisers and publishers need to conduct their own independent verification of their ads hosted on the platform.usher«.
- Enable your business users (companies or sellers using the platform) to promote your offer and conclude contracts with your customers outside of the «.usher«.
- Allow your business users (companies or sellers using the platform) to access the data they collect when using the «usher«.
Although there are a number of things that will be banned from now on, such as: B. granting preferential treatment in the ranking of your services or products compared to those of third parties or tracking end users outside the service of the gatekeepers’ main platform for targeted purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising without effective consent being given.
It has also drawn attention to the fact that some companies such as Samsung are not on the list even though it was among the companies that received a notice from the DMA. However, the European Commission has stated that “Although Gmail, Outlook.com and Samsung Internet Browser meet the thresholds set by the DMA to be considered gatekeepers, Alphabet, Microsoft and Samsung have made reasonable arguments that these services cannot be considered portals to the respective core platform services.«. The Commission has therefore decided Do not designate Gmail, Outlook.com and Samsung Internet Browser as primary platform services. It follows that Samsung is not designated as a gatekeeper with regard to core platform services.
How did the gatekeepers react?
The reactions of the guardians were very different.
In the case of Alphabet, they published an article in the Google blog show that they are working to comply with the regulation. «For example, in our case, we need to further deepen our work to provide consumers with information and options to switch platforms or manage their data (as is the case with…). Google Takeout or the Google Transparency Reports). We also need to remind users of the options available to them (such as: Selection screens which we already offer in Europe)» Share on the blog.
Amazon, on the other hand, has filed lawsuits against the EU courts because they consider that this law addresses risks associated with companies whose main source of income is advertising. The American market argues that in its case the vast majority of its revenue comes from the retail business. The German online shop Zalando has also done this, which in its opinion cannot be classified as a “large platform”.
The European Commission has received a complaint from Apple regarding the listing of its iMessage messaging application, as it considers that it does not meet all the parameters of the WFD. To investigate this, the Commission has initiated and launched a parallel market investigation other market research to further examine whether Apple’s iPadOS should be used as a gatekeeper despite not meeting the thresholds.
A case very similar to Apple’s is that of Microsoft, which also wanted to ask the Commission not to include its Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising platforms in the DMA list.
Finally, ByteDance and Meta have already started making some changes to their companies to adapt to the regulations of the Digital Services Act. In TikTok’s case, they moved their data center to Europe, so European users’ data is hosted in Europe and not in their data center in Asia. While Meta would consider introducing a premium subscription to eliminate advertising from its social networks
The Commission will monitor the effective implementation and compliance with these commitments. In the event that a guardian fails to comply with the obligations set out in the DMA, the Commission may impose the same Fines of up to 10% of the company’s total sales worldwide, or up to 20% in repeat cases. In the case of systematic violations, the commission is also authorized to accept additional solutions B. the obligation of the gatekeeper to sell a company or parts of it or the prohibition to purchase additional services related to the system breach.