Europe's Digital Markets Act has serious implications for Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 21, 2022
Companies
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26

Companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon could soon face fines of up to 20% of their worldwide turnover or even behavioral or structural remedies, when they violate rules laid out in the European Union's Digital Markets Act.

The Digital Markets Act defines rules for large online platforms, called gatekeepers. In particular, its rulesets defines what gatekeepers have to do and what they can't do any longer.

An organization is considered a gatekeeper if it has over 45 million active end users each month or 10,000 yearly active business users. Gatekeepers furthermore have an annual European Union turnover of over 7.5 billion Euro or more in the last three financial years, or an average market capitalisation to at least 75 billion Euro in the last financial year. They also need to provide the same core platform service in at least three Member states.

Core platform services mean any of the following according to the DMA: online intermediation services, online search engines, online social networking services, video-sharing platform services, number-independent interpersonal communication services, operating systems, web browsers, virtual assistants, cloud computing services, and online advertising services.

The list of prohibited activities addresses common anti-consumer and anti-competition practices of gatekeepers.

In particular, gatekeepers may no longer do the following:

  • Pre-install "certain apps or software", or prevent users from "easily un-installing" these products.
  • Require that software such as web browsers is installed "by default when installing an operating system" (use certain bundling practices).
  • Block developers and companies from using third-party payment platforms for application sales.
  • Give their services and products an unfair advantage by ranking them higher than products of other companies.
  • Use private data collected by one service "for the purpose of another service".
  • Impose unfair conditions on business users.

Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google or Amazon are affected directly by the DMA. Apple, for instance, blocks third-party payment platforms, prohibits the use of other browser engines than its own, and installation of other application stores.

Google's practice of pushing Android manufacturers to include certain company apps on Android could come to an end, and Google Search can no longer push YouTube and other Google Products over others.

Microsoft's practice of integrating Bing Search heavily in Windows and preventing the uninstallation of certain apps on Windows would also violate the rules.

Other gatekeepers are affected to varying degrees as well.

The Digital Markets Act defines new rules that gatekeepers need to follow next to this.

  • Unsubscribing from core platform services needs to be as easy as subscribing.
  • Basic functionality of instant messaging services need to be interoperable.
  • Provide business users with "marketing and advertising performance data on the platform".
  • Inform the European Commission about acquisitions and mergers.

Gatekeepers that do not comply risk first offender fines of up to 10% of their worldwide turnover. Repeat offender fines go up to 20% of the gatekeeper's worldwide turnover. Gatekeepers that fail to comply at least three times in eight years may face an open market investigation, which could lead to the imposing of behavioral or structural remedies.

The DMA is expected to be adopted by the European Council in September 2022. Once signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, the DMA will start to apply six months later. The full DMA document is available here (PDF file).

The document lacks information on how certain changes can be achieved by gatekeepers. The interoperability requirement for instant messaging services alone raises questions on how this can be achieved in a short period.

Now You: what is your take on the DMA?

Summary
Europe's Digital Markets Act has serious implications for Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft
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Europe's Digital Markets Act has serious implications for Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft
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Companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon could soon face fines of up to 20% of their worldwide turnover or even behavioral or structural remedies, when they violate rules laid out in the European Union's Digital Markets Act.
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Comments

  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am
    Reply

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, https://www.ghacks.net/2023/03/31/whats-gif-explanation-and-how-to-use-it/#comment-4562919 (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm
    Reply

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IYl1sTIOHI

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm
    Reply

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/09/how-to-send-gifs-on-iphone-two-different-ways/]. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm
    Reply

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am
    Reply

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am
    Reply

    @The Dark Lady,
    @KeZa,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current ghacks.net is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, ghacks.net has changed in quality.
    >> ghacks.net/2023/09/02/microsoft-is-removing-wordpad-from-windows/#comment-4573130
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    >> ghacks.net/2023/08/31/in-windows-11-the-line-between-legitimate-and-adware-becomes-increasingly-blurred/#comment-4573117
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin: ghacks.net##.hentry,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))
    >> ghacks.net/2023/09/01/windows-11-development-overview-of-the-august-2023-changes/#comment-4573033

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.
    >> github.com/martinrotter/rssguard#readme

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm
    Reply

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm
    Reply

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

  9. sean conner said on September 27, 2023 at 6:21 am
    Reply

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