Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft have notified the European Commission that they qualify as gatekeepers under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), EU commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton said on 4 July 2023.
The DMA, which came into force in November 2022, is a set of rules that aims to regulate the market to allow for fair competition in the EU Single Market and globally.
Companies that qualify as gatekeepers could be fined up to 10% of annual global turnover for violating the rules or 20% for repeated infringements.
“Europe is completely reorganising its digital space to both better protect EU citizens and enhance innovation for EU startups and companies,” Breton said in a statement.
EU competition rules continue to apply fully, with the DMA complimenting them, the European Commission said in a statement.
The European Commission will verify the information provided by the companies over the number of their users, confirming their gatekeeper status by 6 September 2023.
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Gatekeeper companies then have a maximum of six months to comply with the obligations of the DMA.
To qualify as a gatekeeper the company must have an annual EU turnover equal to or above $8bn (€7.5bn) in each of the last three years or where its average market capitalisation amounted to at least $80bn as well as providing their core platform service in at least three member states.
The obligations the “gatekeepers” will have to abide by would prevent action that would restrict competition including allowing users to decide which apps to pre-install on their devices.
Prior to the establishment of the new rules, the EU and its member states entered into legal sparring with Apple and Google over their abuse of monopoly-type powers.
In 2018, the EU fined Google $5bn for breaching antitrust rules in a case regarding the Android smartphone operating system.
Apple paid a $12m fine for its alleged abuse of dominance in the apps market in Russia earlier this year (February 2023).