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The EU Has Big Tech On Its Radar

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This week, Europeans who read through their phones and laptops will have more options when it comes to their default search engines and browsers, where they can download iPhone apps, and how their personal online data is utilized.

These are a component of the adjustments mandated by the Digital Markets Act, a set of EU regulations that six digital giants dubbed “gatekeepers”—Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and ByteDance, the owner of TikTok—must begin adhering to by Wednesday at midnight.

As a global pioneer in limiting the power of big internet companies, Europe has established several legislation, the DMA being the most recent. Tech companies have changed some of their long-standing business practices in response, often reluctantly. For example, Apple no longer permits users to install smartphone apps outside of its App Store.

The new regulations aim to make digital marketplaces “fairer” and “more contestable,” but their exact objectives are not clear. They are beginning to take effect as global efforts to rein in the tech sector are accelerating.

The Digital Markets Act will function as follows:


The DMA will target about 22 services, including social media networks, chat apps, and operating systems.

They include Apple’s Safari browser and iOS, Amazon’s Marketplace, Google services like Maps, YouTube, the Chrome browser, and the Android operating system.

Microsoft Windows, LinkedIn, and Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp from Meta are also included.

For recurring infractions, the companies risk severe fines of up to 20 percent of their global yearly revenue, or billions of dollars, or possibly the dissolution of their enterprises due to “systematic infringements.”


The 27-nation European Union has long been a global leader in regulating the tech sector, and the Digital Markets Act marks a new turning point in that regard.

The group has already imposed massive fines on Google in antitrust cases, implemented strict guidelines to purge social media, and is introducing artificial intelligence legislation that will set new standards for the industry.

Countries such as Britain, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, and India are currently developing their own DMA-like regulations in an effort to stop internet companies from controlling the digital market.

According to Bill Echikson, senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a think organization with headquarters in Washington, “we’re seeing copycats around the world already.” According to him, the DMA “will become the defacto standard” for digital regulation in democracies.

According to Zach Meyers, associate director of the London-based think tank Center for European Reform, officials will be looking to Brussels for direction.

He predicted that many Western nations would attempt to adopt the DMA if it is successful in order to prevent fragmentation and the possibility of trying an unsuccessful alternative strategy.


One of the greatest announcements from Apple is that it will now permit iPhone users in Europe to download apps from stores other than the App Store, which is pre-installed on the company’s smartphones.

The corporation has opposed this move for a long time because a significant portion of its income comes from a 30% fee that it charges for payments made through iOS apps, such as Disney+ subscriptions. Apple has alerted users to the increased security concerns associated with “sideloading” programs.

Apple is currently reducing the costs it charges European app developers who choose to continue using the company’s payment processing system. However, detractors claim that by charging 50 euros for each iOS software downloaded through third-party app stores, it may discourage creators of the many free apps already available—who currently receive no compensation—from abandoning the platform.

Avery Gardiner, global head of competition policy at Spotify, questioned why users would choose to live in a society where they had pay a 50-cent per-user fee. “Therefore, those alternate app stores will never catch on because they will be devoid of a significant portion of the apps that are necessary for users to find the store appealing.”

“That completely contradicts the fundamental objective of the DMA,” Gardiner continued.
Brussels will be watching closely to see if tech companies are following the rules.
This Thursday, after ten years on the job, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager remarked, “I have seen quite a number of antitrust cases and quite a lot of creativity built into how to work around the rules that we have.”


Customers won’t be compelled to use the default options for essential services.

Whereas iPhone users get to select which browser will be their default, Android users get to choose which search engine to use by default. On their gadgets, Europeans will see choice screens. Microsoft will discontinue pressuring users to use its Edge browser in the interim.

The intention is to discourage individuals from being coerced into utilizing the Google Search app or Apple Safari browser. However, smaller players continue to be concerned that their situation may deteriorate.

Because they are ignorant of the alternatives, users may simply remain with what they are familiar with, according to Christian Kroll, CEO of Berlin-based search engine Ecosia.

Ecosia has been advocating for Apple and Google to enhance the decision screens with additional details about competing services.

According to Kroll, “it’s rather unlikely that many people will select an alternative if they are unaware of the alternatives.” “I think highly of the DMA. I’m not sure yet if it will produce the desired outcomes.


Because Google prohibits firms from favoring their own services, some search results will seem differently.

Thus, an additional “carousel” of booking websites like Expedia will now appear when someone searches for hotels, for instance. In the interim, the Google Flights button will disappear from the search result display, and the website will appear among the blue links on search result pages.

Additionally, users will be able to opt out of having their online behavior used to create profiles for targeted advertising.

Users of Google now have the option to refuse data sharing across the company’s services to improve their ad targeting.

Users may now keep their Instagram and Facebook accounts separate using Meta, preventing the combination of personal data for ad targeting.

Interoperability amongst messaging systems is another need of the DMA. It is anticipated that Meta, the owner of the two chat apps that are exempt from the regulations, would present a plan for enabling text, video, and image exchanges between users of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.