Surprisingly, the American media covered much more the announcement of the vote of a text in the European Parliament this week. Or not, actually, because the Big Tech aimed at by the law is mostly US. After 2 years of work and an 8-hour day of negotiations last Thursday, the text is ready. Even if it will only be enforced by the end of the year, it could be an inspiration for all legislators, the US in the lead but not only, to impose some limitations to the power of GAFAM.
I am of course talking about the Digital Markets Act.
Which companies are concerned?
Companies called “gatekeepers”, which have more than 7.5 billion euros of turnover in the EU or 75 billion euros of market value. The targeted companies will also have to have at least 45 million end users per month in the EU and 10,000 business users per year. That is 10 to 15 platforms worldwide, mostly US, but not only (for example, Booking.com, which is Dutch, fits the bill).
Which services are targeted?
As for services, the list is long (non-exhaustive illustrations)! Search engines (Google), application stores (Apple Store or Google Play Store), operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows), e-commerce platforms (Amazon), social networks (Instagram, TikTok), messaging services (iMessage, WhatsApp), cloud hosting services (AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud), browsers (Chrome, Safari) and voice assistants (Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant).
Obligations or limitations
- Ban on self-promotion in search results (cf. Google Shopping)
- Ban on copying its customers’ star products to compete with them (cf. Amazon Basics)
- Requirement to have informed consent from consumers for the transfer of their data from one service to another, in particular for ad targeting purposes (cf. Google and Facebook)
- Prohibition of imposing pre-installed software (browsers, music apps)
- Obligation of interoperability of messaging services (cf. WhatsApp, Messenger, iMessage)
- Free choice of application stores (Apple Store, Google Play Store)
No law is respected if there is no penalty for ignoring it. The law provides for an initial fine of 10% of the worldwide turnover, which can rise to 20% in case of recidivism. It’s steep.
announced Wednesday that Android
developers will be able to use their own payment system, and is starting a first test with Spotify