Strict EU Rules for Six Inevitable Big Tech Companies

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Alphabet (Google), Apple, Amazon, Facebook owner Meta, Microsoft and TikTok parent ByteDance are subject to strict European Union rules.

 

Six big tech companies are so big and powerful that they serve as gatekeepers for services from others, the European Commission has established. This creates responsibility, which is why additional regulations are imposed on them.

The so-called Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules will apply to 22 search engines, social media, operating systems, Internet marketplaces and other “core services” of the Big Six, five of whom are from the United States and one from China. Their key role in accessing many services makes them almost omnipotent. As a result, users are sometimes condemned to them, and competitors get into trouble.

Therefore, the gatekeepers must give competitors and others space on their platforms, the DMA prescribes. Own services and products may no longer be presented better than others, and ‘interoperability’ must become possible. For example, a WhatsApp user could also send and receive messages to and from another messaging service. Furthermore, platform users must now be able to get rid of unsolicited extra-installed software.

The European Commission speaks of a gatekeeper if a platform has at least 45 million monthly active users, a turnover of at least 7.5 billion euros and a market value of more than 75 billion. Those who do not meet that description but have a “deep-rooted and sustainable position” in the market can also be awarded the title.

The six major groups have another six months to comply with the new rules. If they fail to do so, they risk a fine of up to 10 percent of annual turnover.

Other companies may have already joined the gatekeepers by then. Samsung previously reported voluntarily to the executive board of the EU, and Booking also thinks it is eligible. The committee is still investigating whether Apple’s operating system for the iPad should be added.

The committee is also investigating whether Microsoft’s search engine Bing and Apple’s iMessage deserve the gatekeeper designation. Microsoft says Bing cannot be in the shadow of major competitor Google. And Apple says it doesn’t know how many people use iMessage.

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