Digital Markets Act: the EU is changing the internet

Digital Markets Act: The European Union on Thursday agreed to one of the most comprehensive laws in the world to tackle the power of big tech giants by reshaping app stores, online advertising, e-commerce, messaging services and many other everyday digital tools.

eu digital markets act

The law, called the Digital Markets Act, is the most sweeping digital data protection policy in the world. The legislation aims to stop large technology platforms from using their services to gain new users and how to deal with emerging competitors, creating space for new entrants that will further enhance competition.

The Digital Markets Act will apply to so-called gatekeeper platforms, which are determined by factors such as their market value of over € 75 billion or about $ 83 billion. The group includes Alphabet, owner of Google and YouTube, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta.

The details of the law are the wish list for the competitors of the largest companies.

Some examples:

Apple and Google, which make the operating systems that run on almost every smartphone, should relax their requirements.

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Apple should allow App Store alternatives to download apps, a change the company has warned could hurt security. The law will also allow companies such as Spotify and epic Games use payment methods other than those specified by Apple in the App Store, which charges a 30% commission.

Amazon will not be able to use data collected from outside vendors in its services to offer competing products, a practice of the company which is currently the subject of a separate antitrust investigation by the EU. .

The law will lead to significant changes for messaging applications. WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, should offer ways for users of competing services such as Signal or Telegram to send and receive messages to someone using WhatsApp.
Rival services should also make their products interoperable with WhatsApp.

For the largest online advertising vendors (Meta and Google), there will be new limits to targeted ads without user consent. Such ads (based on data collected by individuals as they move between YouTube and other Google services or between Instagram and Facebook) are extremely lucrative for both companies.

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With these actions, Europe is consolidating its leadership position as the most dynamic regulator of technology companies.

European standards are often adopted around the world and the latest legislation further raises the bar, bringing the big technology companies into a new era of supervision.

"By treating large online platforms that behave as 'too big to care about,' Europe has stepped in," said Thierry Breton, one of the European Commission's top digital technology officials.

"We are putting an end to the so-called Wild West that dominates the field of information. A new framework that can be used to refer to democracies around the world. "

Last Thursday, representatives of the European Parliament and the European Council recorded the final details of the law in Brussels, after about 16 months of talks, and laid the groundwork for a final vote in Parliament between representatives from the 27 countries of the union.

This approval is considered formal.

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