|Apple, Amazon, Meta, Google|
The European Council and parliament announced the agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) late on Thursday night, heralding a new era of enforcement against technology companies. It comes amid President Biden's visit to Brussels during which time the US and EU have agreed on measures to and on.
The DMA targets so-called "gatekeeper" companies
businesses that have an annual turnover of at least €7.5 billion and at least 45 million monthly end users and 10,000 business users in the EU
In a concession welcomed by the US, the threshold for defining a gatekeeper has been kept low enough to include European as well as American companies.
Not require their versions of the most important software (eg web browsers) be default upon installation
Ensure their instant messaging services' basic functionalities are interoperable with others
Companies who violate the rules could be fined 10% of their global turnover for a first time offence, or 20% for any repeat offences.
In cases where an offender "systematically fails to comply", defined as three violations within eight years, the law allows the European Commission to "impose behavioural or structural remedies".
How much power does this give the EU?
There are dozens of antitrust cases ongoing against the big technology giants across the world, although the most powerful jurisdictions are the US and the EU
The EU's largest ever competition fine was issued back in 2018 for forcing phone makers to pre-install apps including Google Search and Chrome to the exclusion of other search engines and web browsers
Dwarfing this threat is the US, where monopoly and competition laws allow the government to force companies to divest and restructure if they are deemed to be twisting the marketplace to suit themselves
It will require that WhatsApp and iMessage share a basic level of interoperability
Apple is concerned that some provisions of the DMA will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for their users while others will prohibit them from charging for intellectual property in which they invest a great deal.
A spokesperson for Amazon said that the company was reviewing what this meant for the company.