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Probe against Apple, Meta and Google

Why is it in the news?

  • The European Commission has launched a probe against major players in the digital space, including Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Google’s parent Alphabet, for non-compliance with provisions under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) of 2022.
·       The DMA came into force on November 1, 2022, designating certain companies as ‘gatekeepers’ and expecting them to comply fully with DMA obligations by March 7, 2024.

 More about the news

  • The probe aims to ensure contestable and fair markets in the digital sector, in accordance with the DMA provisions, which seek to regulate ‘gatekeepers’ and promote fair competition in the digital market space.
  • Alphabet is under scrutiny for alleged steering rules on Google Play and self-preferencing on Google Search. Apple faces investigation for similar practices in its App Store and Safari browser positioning.
  • Meta’s “pay or consent model” regarding personalized advertising is also being investigated.
  • The Commission assessed mandatory compliance reports submitted by designated companies and gathered stakeholder feedback before initiating the investigation.
  • Concerns revolve around non-compliance with DMA provisions, such as restrictions on app developers’ ability to steer consumers, self-preferencing in search results, and limitations on user choice within ecosystems.
  • Non-compliant companies could face fines of up to 10% of their global turnover or 20% for repeated infringements. Systematic infringement may result in divestiture or bans on acquiring related services.
  • However, stakeholders express concerns about overlapping regulatory prerogatives and the timing of the investigation, with some considering it premature.
  • Amazon claims compliance with DMA and constructive engagement with the Commission, while other companies under investigation have yet to respond publicly.

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