The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) could end the dominance of Apple and Google

Image Credit – BBC

Google and Apple will be required to offer their services and platforms to other companies under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Big tech companies have long been accused of abusing their market power to eliminate competition.

Margarethe Vestager, EU antitrust chief, said: “What we want is simple: fair markets…in digital, big enforcement platforms have prevented businesses and consumers from reaping the benefits competitive digital markets.

The announcement marks the EU’s most significant regulatory action to date against what it defines as “anti-trust” or anti-competitive behavior by mainly American tech companies.

Andreas Schwab, a German MEP, who led the negotiations for the European Parliament, said: “The agreement ushers in a new era of technology regulation in the world”.

Apple would be forced to open its App Store to third-party payment choices under the proposed DMA, rather than forcing consumers to use Apple’s payment system.

Google will be required to provide alternatives to its search engine, Google Maps app and Chrome browser to those using devices running the company’s Android operating system.

Apple would also be required to reduce its grip on the iPhone, allowing users to uninstall Apple’s Safari web browser and other company-imposed apps that are currently impossible to remove.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, Google Play, the App Store and many other leading internet services are among the targets of the law.

The EU wants to provide users with alternative options in terms of how they transmit communications. Under the new guidelines, tech companies must make their messaging services interoperable with smaller competitors.

Apple said it was “concerned that certain provisions of the DMA create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users.”

Additionally, Google clarified that “while we support many of the DMA’s ambitions around consumer choice and interoperability, we are concerned that some of these rules will reduce innovation and choice for Europeans.”

Only companies with a market capitalization of over €75bn (£63bn), annual sales of over €7.5bn and at least 45m monthly users will be affected by the rule .

Ms Vestager suggested legislation just over a year ago in response to what she saw as monopolistic behavior by Big Tech. She was known to be angered by how huge US IT companies had been able to stall and even resist EU fines.

On Thursday, Ms Vestager said: ‘The guardians – they have to take responsibility now.’

Once fully implemented, the rule will give Brussels extraordinary regulatory control over big tech companies.

Many large US internet companies have large lobbying operations in Washington and they have argued that such rules are hurting successful US businesses.

Many American politicians, on the other hand, want to clip the wings of Big Tech, and there are currently measures in Congress that would do just that.

The DMA now faces final votes in the European Parliament and by ministers from the 27 EU member states, thanks to the deal reached by negotiators.