Apple, Meta, and Alphabet Face Investigation from EU

The European Commission has initiated an investigation into three major tech platform providers, Alphabet, Apple, and Meta, under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The investigation aims to determine whether the actions taken by these companies are in compliance with the law. Alphabet’s rules on steering in Google Play and self-preferencing on Google Search, Apple’s rules on steering in the App Store and the choice screen for Safari, and Meta’s “pay or consent” model will be examined. If the investigation concludes that there is a lack of compliance, the gatekeepers could face significant fines. The Digital Markets Act, which came into force on March 7, sets out criteria for major online platforms, referred to as gatekeepers, to ensure interoperability and prevent preferential treatment of their own products. The European Commission is concerned about potential non-compliance in Alphabet and Apple’s measures, as they impose constraints on software developers and limit their ability to communicate and promote offers. The commission has opened proceedings to assess whether these measures breach the DMA. Additionally, the commission is investigating Apple’s new fee structure for alternative app stores and Amazon’s ranking practices on its marketplace. As for Meta, the commission is examining whether Facebook’s “pay or consent” model complies with the DMA’s requirements regarding personal data. The commission is concerned that Meta’s model may not provide a real alternative for users who do not consent, which goes against the objective of preventing the accumulation of personal data. The commission’s decision to consider enforcement action shortly after the DMA came into force demonstrates its seriousness about regulating big tech. Some experts in the industry, however, believe that the DMA may weaken consumer protection, particularly in terms of app security in the Apple App Store.

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