The European Union has initiated investigations into tech giants Apple, Google, and Meta Platforms over potential violations of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), signalling a significant move towards regulating big tech companies.

The European Commission, EU’s antitrust regulator, announced on Monday that it will probe Apple, Alphabet’s Google, and Meta Platforms for potential breaches of the DMA. This legislation, which became effective on March 7, aims to ensure fair competition among digital gatekeepers and provide users with more choices. Violations could result in fines of up to 10% of the companies’ global annual turnover.

Investigation Focus

The Commission’s investigation will focus on various aspects, including Alphabet’s rules on steering in Google Play and self-preferencing on Google Search, Apple’s rules on steering in the App Store, and Meta’s ‘pay or consent model’. These probes come amid concerns that the measures implemented by these tech giants may not fully comply with the DMA guidelines.

At a press conference, EU industry chief Thierry Breton stated, “The law is the law. We can’t just sit around and wait.”

In response to the investigations, Meta spokesperson highlighted efforts to comply with DMA guidelines, citing their Subscription for No Ads service as an example. Meanwhile, Google and Apple expressed confidence in their approaches, with Google emphasising significant changes to its services and Apple asserting compliance with the DMA. The Commission aims to conclude the investigations within a year, signalling a proactive stance towards regulating big tech.

The EU’s move to investigate these tech giants follows mounting criticism from app developers and business users regarding perceived shortcomings in the companies’ compliance efforts. With regulatory scrutiny intensifying, the outcome of these investigations could have far-reaching implications for the digital landscape in Europe.

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