A major deadline has just passed for the world’s largest technology platform companies to notify the European Union (EU) that they are gatekeepers under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Seven companies have officially recognized as meeting the criteria: Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, ByteDance (TikTok), Meta (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp), Microsoft and Samsung. The companies on the list have a market capitalization of more than €75 billion ($82 billion) and own a social platform or app with at least 45 million monthly users or 10,000 active business users.
The statement released by EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said it would “now review their contributions and designate gatekeepers for specific platform services by 6 September”, after which the companies will have just six months to comply with the DMA rules.
Reuters reports that TikTok’s parent company Bytedance has contested its placement on the list and noted that Booking.com has informed regulators it expects to be on the list next year.
According to Breton, the new rules include several key elements:
They will no longer be able to block users in their ecosystem.
They will no longer be able to decide which apps you need to have pre-installed on your devices; which app store you need to use.
They won’t be able to “prefer themselves”: take advantage of being the keeper by treating their own products and services more favorably.
Their messaging apps will need to interact with others.
Breaking the rules would put companies at risk of a fine of up to 10% of their total worldwide turnover, 20% for repeat offenders, and repeated failures could lead the commission to “open a market investigation and, if necessary, impose behavioral measures or structural remedies”.
Apple, which says the new law “will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users,” reportedly planned to allow third-party app stores in iOS 17, albeit with possible restrictions such as only allowing them in Europe or imposing security requirements.
We are also seeing the beginning of new avenues for competition among the tech giants. Meta said last week that it will allow users to download apps via Facebook ads in Europe.