A few months ago, we talked about how WhatsApp and other similar apps might start offering interoperability thanks to the new Digital Market Act or DMA that would blacklist anticompetitive practices. Well, the bill has been finally passed by EU and now, the big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and others are under a lot more scrutiny than they used to be.
EU lawmakers have signed that they were serious about ensuring that the market power of tech giants is limited. They now have passed two sets of rules that should take antitrust enforcement in the EU to another new level, especially for companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and More.
Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Other Big Tech Companies Will Now Have to be In Line Thanks to EU's DMA and DSA
The EU Parliament has sanctioned the new Digital Services Act (DSA) and DMA; these acts would force big messaging platforms to interoperate with similar services and this would also require tech giants to make it easier to uninstall preloaded apps on any device. Additionally, the new EU policies also intend to let consumers download apps from any third-party source of their choice. This would mean that Google, and other companies would have to fall in line, and simply locking out consumers is one thing that will no longer work.
In addition to that, the new rulebook also seems to give consumers more choice by preventing Big Tech from favoring their services. Businesses will be granted access to data that is generated on those platforms and directly process transactions. For example, this is going to prevent Google from forcing developers to use its Google Play billing method for in-app purchases.
Moving further, the new rulebook is also going to target anti-competitive practices of tech giants that are considered "gatekeepers," this includes Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. For instance, apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger will be required to let third-party platforms interoperate with their services. This would potentially put an end to the "lock-in" effect that we see, in which the user's experience s limited to a single platform.
Additionally, the gatekeepers will no longer be able to favor their own services and process users' personal data for targeted ads without first taking consent. this means that the smaller digital platforms will have a better chance of competing with the big tech giants.
It is important to know that an important part of this new rulebook is the EU's tougher measures to tackle the spread of illegal content online and prevent targeted ads that use sensitive data. It also looks to tackle misleading content, something that other tech giants also support.
The offenders will be fined up to 10% of their total global turnover in the preceding financial year or up to 20% for repeat offenders. To ensure these rules work, the EU will be forming a task force that will have around 80 officials, based on the report.
Despite that, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) has raised concerns that the EU's limited resources will hamper enforcement efforts. BEUC's Deputy Director-General Ursula Pachl suggested that EC add more experts to the task force to improve the monitoring of Big Tech's marketplace practices.
Thierry Breton, EU's commissioner for the internal market, diminished fears about the ineffective enforcement and mentioned that the Commission is "shifting existing resources" and planning "to ramp up recruitment next year and in 2024."