Tech Giants Under Scrutiny: EU Probes Apple, Meta, Google Over Digital Markets Act

The European Union launched its first probe into tech companies like Apple, Alphabet, and Meta under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The EU opened non-compliance investigations under the DMA into Alphabet and Apple’s alleged violations of anti-steering rules. These regulations prevent tech firms from blocking businesses from informing users about cheaper alternatives or subscription options outside their app stores.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, highlighted, “The way that Apple and Alphabet implemented the DMA rules on anti-steering seems to be at odds with the letter of the law. Apple and Alphabet will still charge recurring fees and limit steering.”

Apple Faces Additional Scrutiny Over DMA Compliance

Apple, already fined earlier this month for breaching EU rules, faces further inquiry into its compliance with DMA obligations. The investigation ensures that users can easily uninstall apps on iOS devices and change default settings. The EU also focuses on whether Apple allows users to change default services on iOS, such as the search engine and web browser.

Alphabet Responds to Allegations

Alphabet asserts its commitment to complying with the DMA. The company said it has made significant changes to its services in Europe, allowing Android users to switch their default search engine and browser easily. These efforts address concerns about self-preferencing in Google’s search results and related services.

Meta’s Pay and Consent Model Under Scrutiny

The final investigation targets Meta’s “pay or consent” model and questions its compliance with the DMA. The EU scrutinizes whether Meta’s subscription-based, ad-free model for Facebook and Instagram violates Digital Markets Act provisions by restricting user choices and accumulating personal data without adequate consent.

Tech Giants at Risk of “Heavy” Fines

The European Commission intends to conclude its probes within 12 months, with potential fines of up to 10% of the tech firms’ global turnover for non-compliance with the DMA. The commission emphasizes its commitment to ensuring fair competition and consumer rights in the digital market, signaling readiness to use all available tools against any attempts to evade DMA obligations.

Moreover, the commission is also examining allegations against Amazon for potential preferential treatment of its products on its e-commerce platform. Additionally, Apple’s recent policy changes, allowing EU users to download apps from websites, are under review, though these investigations are not formal inquiries.


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