The EU could start enforcing rules to regulate big tech companies in the spring of 2023
The European Union aims to start implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the spring of 2023, Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager announced at the International Competition Network (ICN) conference last week, as first reported by Take Crunch. Vestager previously stated that the antitrust law, which introduces a new set of rules to limit Big Tech’s power, could be implemented as early as October this year.
“The DMA will go into effect next spring, and we are preparing to implement as soon as the first notifications come in,” Vestager said during her speech at ICN. As noted before Take CrunchVestager suggests that the commission will be ready to act against any violations by “gatekeepers” – a classification that includes Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon – once the laws go into effect.
The DMA, which still needs final approval from the Council and Parliament, identifies gatekeepers as companies with a market capitalization of more than 75 billion euros ($82 billion) and owning a social platform or app with at least 45 million monthly users. These entities can face fines “up to 10 percent of their total global sales in the prior fiscal year” if they are found to be in violation of DMA rules, a fee that can increase to 20 percent if the violation is repeated.
According to the DMA, guards will have three months to declare their status to the Commission, followed by a waiting period of up to two months to receive confirmation from the European Union. This waiting period, combined with the late application of DMA, could mean that we won’t start to see any real battles between the EU and Big Tech until the end of 2023.
“This next chapter is exciting. This means a lot of concrete preparations,” Vestager explained. “It’s about creating new structures within the Commission… it’s about hiring staff. It is about setting up IT systems. It is about drafting more legal texts about procedures or notification forms. Our teams are currently busy with all of these preparations and we aim to move forward with the new structures very soon.”
Pushing the DMA application back may give UNHCR more time to prepare, but like Take Crunch He points out that the delay could also act as an incentive for criticism if the commission fails to address any major violations that occur between now and the time the DMA becomes law.
When passed, DMA is likely to disrupt business models used by the world’s tech giants. First, it could require Apple to start allowing users to download apps from outside the App Store, an idea that Apple’s CEO vehemently opposes, as he argues that sideloading can “destroy” the security of an iPhone. It may also require WhatsApp and iMessage to become interoperable with smaller platforms, a policy that could make it difficult for WhatsApp to maintain end-to-end encryption.