Google, Meta and Apple

EU Launches Probes into Apple, Google, and Meta for Potential Violations of Digital Markets Act

The European Union has initiated investigations into tech giants Apple, Google, and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, over suspicions of non-compliance with the newly implemented Digital Markets Act (DMA), aimed at fostering competition in digital services.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton stated that the European Commission has raised concerns regarding practices by the three companies that may not align with the DMA’s requirements for effective compliance. Breton warned of the possibility of “heavy fines” should the investigations reveal a lack of full adherence to the law.

Under the DMA, dominant online platforms are obligated to provide users with increased choices and facilitate competition among rivals. The law currently applies to the three companies under investigation, along with Amazon, Microsoft, and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. Elon Musk’s X and could also come under scrutiny by mid-May.

Violations of the DMA can result in substantial penalties, with fines of up to 10% of a company’s global revenue and up to 20% for repeat offenses, potentially amounting to tens of billions of dollars for the regulated firms.

The European Commission is specifically examining Meta’s “pay or consent” model, which offers European users ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram for a subscription fee. Concerns have been raised that this model may limit user choices and fail to prevent the accumulation of personal data by large companies.

Apple and Google are also under scrutiny for their app stores, with suspicions that they may be constraining developers’ ability to communicate with end-users and promote offers outside their platforms. Additionally, Apple’s “choice screen” for Safari and Google’s treatment of third-party services in search results are subjects of investigation.

In response to the probes, Meta, Apple, and Google have expressed their commitment to engaging constructively with the European Commission. However, the outcome of these investigations could have significant implications for the tech industry’s landscape in Europe.

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