Apple, Google, and Meta to be investigated for DMA violations in the EU

Apple, Google, and Meta to be investigated for DMA violations in the EU
Apple, Google, and Meta are in hot water as the European Union launched a thorough investigation into whether they are following the tough new laws aimed at reigning in the dominance of Big Tech. If they are caught violating the rules, they could be slapped with substantial fines, possibly up to 10% of their yearly revenue.

Margrethe Vestager, the Executive Vice-President overseeing competition policy, announced that the Commission has initiated five investigations into potential non-compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Specifically, the Commission intends to delve into Google and Apple’s anti-steering regulations in their app stores, along with examining whether Google is showing favoritism towards its own services in its search engine. Additionally, Apple’s browser choice screen for iOS and Meta’s "pay or consent model" for ad targeting are also under scrutiny.

Furthermore, the EU regulator is examining the fee arrangement Apple unveiled for distributing apps outside of the App Store and investigating whether Amazon is prioritizing its own products on its platform. Additionally, the Commission has granted Meta an extra six months to enable Messenger to communicate with other messaging services.

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EU Commissioner Thierry Breton remarked in a statement:

After the investigation, the Commission will lay out the necessary steps for each gatekeeper to address concerns, along with the measures the regulator plans to implement. If found to be non-compliant, the Commission holds the authority to impose fines of up to 10 percent of their annual global revenue under the DMA and up to 20 percent in cases of "repeated infringement."

At the start of this month, the six major tech giants named as gatekeepers (Google, Apple, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and TikTok) under the DMA had to kick off compliance with its regulations. These rules include:

  • Giving customers the option to switch default apps
  • Remove the gatekeeper's pre-installed applications
  • Banning the elevation of a gatekeeper's own services above rivals
  • Allowing third-party app stores.

For Apple, the EU probe adds to its woes, hitting it alongside a major antitrust investigation in the US. The Justice Department and 16 attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the company last week, accusing it of violating antitrust laws by blocking rivals' access to hardware and software features on its devices. Moreover, the EU recently fined Apple €1.8 billion ($2 billion) for preventing music streaming apps from informing users about cheaper deals.

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