Tech Giants Facing Unprecedented Antitrust Crackdown Following New EU Legislation

Under the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, tech ‘gatekeepers’ will be prohibited from engaging in various anti-competitive practices, while complying with a number of transparency obligations.

Tech Giants Facing Unprecedented Antitrust Crackdown Following New EU Legislation

Big Tech is bracing for the European Union’s biggest ever clampdown on anti-competitive practices in the digital economy, potentially provoking a new wave of legal battles between regulators and Silicon Valley. Antitrust regulators are expected to announce a list of services, likely to include Alphabet Inc.’s Google Search, Apple Inc.’s App Store, Inc.’s marketplace and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook, to be targeted by rules aimed at preventing the most powerful firms from  dominating new markets.

The Digital Markets Act, or DMA, which takes effect early next year, will impose a rigid regime of dos and don’ts on firms designated as "gatekeepers,". These are mostly companies that provide core platform services, such as online search engines, app stores, and social media platforms. 

The DMA prohibits gatekeepers from engaging in a variety of anti-competitive practices, such as:

  • Self-preferencing their own products and services over those of their rivals.

  • Collecting excessive amounts of data from users.

  • Making it difficult for users to uninstall their apps or switch to other platforms.

  • Denying access to their platforms to competing businesses.

The DMA also requires these Big Tech companies to comply with a number of transparency obligations, such as:

  • Publishing information about their algorithms and business practices.

  • Giving users more control over their data.

  • Allowing businesses to interoperate with their platforms.

The DMA comes as a response to the growing power of Big Tech companies and their tendency to dominate markets. The EU is concerned that these companies are using their size and influence to stifle competition and innovation. The DMA aims to level the playing field by imposing strict rules on how these companies can operate.

The EU legislation is likely to face legal challenges from Big Tech companies who will argue that the rules are unfair and prevent innovation. However, the EU is determined to push ahead with the DMA and ensure that competition is fair in the digital economy.

In addition to the DMA, the European Union is also working on a number of other initiatives to regulate the digital economy. These include the Digital Services Act (DSA), which will regulate online intermediaries such as social media platforms and search engines, and the Artificial Intelligence Act, which will regulate the development and use of artificial intelligence.

“The DMA will change the digital landscape profoundly. With it, the EU is taking a pro-active approach to ensuring fair, transparent and contestable digital markets,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age. “A small number of large companies hold significant market power in their hands. Gatekeepers enjoying an entrenched position in digital markets will have to show that they are competing fairly.”


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