The European Commission has officially confirmed which technology companies and which of their services are considered “gatekeepers” under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA).
All of them were listed in a provisional list published in early July, and most of them are U.S. tech giants. They include Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft from the U.S., as well as ByteDance from China.
Starting now, the 22 core platform services provided by the gatekeepers must comply with the DMA obligations by March 6, 2024.
Here is the complete list of core platform services, as announced today by the European Commission:
- Social networks: TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
- Messaging services: WhatsApp, Messenger
- Intermediation: Google Maps, Google Play, Google Shopping, Amazon Marketplace, Apple’s App Store, Meta Marketplace
- Video sharing: YouTube
- Advertising services: Google, Amazon, Meta
- Web browsers: Chrome, Safari
- Search: Google Search
- Operating systems: Android, iOS, Windows
Samsung, which appeared on the previous list, successfully argued that it does not meet the threshold to be a gatekeeper with its internet browser. Similarly, Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Edge browser, and advertising service are not on the list, but the Commission has stated that it is opening market investigations to assess if they meet the criteria for regulation.
The same applies to Apple’s iMessage service. The Commission has mentioned that these investigations will not last longer than five months but could potentially require Apple to make iMessage interoperable with competing services upon request. They are also investigating whether iPadOS should be designated as a gatekeeper.
In broad terms, the DMA is the EU’s attempt to curb the market power of big tech companies by opening up entrenched platforms and curbing ecosystem lock-ins and anti-competitive behavior, forcing them to compete solely on the merits of their products and services.
For example, major messaging apps will be obligated to be interoperable with their competitors, while operating systems will have to be designed to provide third-party app stores and allow developers to offer alternative in-app payment options.
Although today’s announcement is a significant step towards the implementation of the DMA, the process is far from concluded. We still have a few years of legal battles and paperwork ahead.
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