EU could start enforcing Digital Markets Act rules on Apple, Google, Meta in Spring 2023

EU could start enforcing Digital Markets Act rules on Apple, Google, Meta in Spring 2023
You may have heard so far that the European Union has been preparing to have a say in how big tech companies like Apple, Google, and Meta operate. We are talking about a legislation dubbed the DMA (Digital Markets Act) which the European Commission has been rigorously preparing for a while. Now, The Verge reports that changes might come as soon as Spring 2023.

Spring 2023 might be the time when we see EU vs Big Tech


The European Commission's executive vice president Margrethe Vestager has set her eyes on controlling (or at least, fining if uncontrollable) tech giants such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta, and others with the DMA. Previously, she expected the battle to begin in October, but it seems we are more likely to see some action in the Spring of next year.

The waiting game depends on when the DMA will get implemented. The legislation is currently waiting for approval from the Council and Parliament.

The EU is, however, gearing up for enforcement of the new laws. The legislation focuses on the so-called gatekeeper companies, that, if you've been attentive so far in this article, you might presume refers to those big tech companies we mentioned earlier.

And you would be correct. If you're curious, here's the definition of what companies are considered gatekeepers: the company needs to have a market capitalization (a fancy way of saying the total of its stocks value) of over €75 billion ($82 billion) and own a social platform or app with at least 45 million monthly users.

These companies could face fines of up to 10 percent of their total worldwide turnover (for the preceding year) if they fail to comply with the legislation. For the repeated offenders, the fine can grow to 20 percent, which could help the EU drive its point home.

So, big tech companies will have three months to declare their status to the Commission, and then they'll have to wait for up to two months to receive confirmation from the EU. Indeed, it seems like it could take quite a while for the giant mechanism to start working (you can't expect tech giants and government commissions to fight a fierce Marvel-like battle that's so quick it's hard to see).

And as you might imagine, the EU has a lot more work it needs to do beforehand. Hiring heroes (we mean, staff), preparing the hundreds of monitors and computers to analyze data (and possibly, the 007 coffee for the employees that are working there)... joking aside, it will indeed take some tremendous work to prepare such legislation to be executed. Vestager also mentions that they will need to prepare legal text on various procedures.

However, when the DMA passes, it will possibly mark an end of an era. In case you haven't heard of it yet, this is the legislation that could force Apple to allow users to download apps from outside the App Store (a possibility that freaks Tim Cook out and has him worried about the iPhone security), as well as require WhatsApp and iMessage to become interoperable with smaller chat apps.

Sideloading (the process of downloading apps on iPhone from outside the App Store) is arguably the biggest change the DMA will force for Apple. Previously, Apple has raised concerns that this will weaken the iPhone's security. By the way, Android users have been able to sideload apps for quite a while now.

On the other hand, an even bigger cause of headache for Apple is that the DMA would make Cupertino allow App Store customers to make in-app payments through alternative payment platforms (you may have heard about the infamous Apple Tax, 30% cut, which Apple takes from developers when payments are made via the App Store).

With all this being said, it will be quite interesting to see the DMA in action and what changes will big tech giants have to implement (and whether they will comply).
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