In Europe, the implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) for big tech slips to spring 2023.
New DMA for big tech in Europe expected in 2023
A new antitrust law on big tech companies was expected in October this year from the European Union. Instead, the approval of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) will be delayed until spring of next year. The announcement was made by the Executive Vice President of the Commission, Margrethe Vestager, during the International Competition Network (ICN) conference.
The bill, presented two years ago and aimed at large technology companies with a market capitalization of over $75 billion, aims to limit the monopoly power achieved by these large companies.
For example, the DMA included some crucial rules, such as the obligation to allow downloading apps from an alternative store, or to make messaging platforms interoperable. Or the rule that requires big tech platforms to disclose the algorithm that causes online advertising to appear targeted depending on the preferences of Internet users.
The penalties foreseen for those who did not comply with these rules could also reach 10% of the company’s turnover. But when it seemed that everything was decided to be able to approve a final text in October, Commissioner Vestager has instead declared that the date of approval will slip to the spring of next year.
The reasons for the postponement of the European law
Evidently, as the Commissioner has made clear, more time is needed to arrive at a shared choice that can be fair and effective at the same time.
At the end of last year, when it seemed that the Parliament and the Commission had reached an agreement on a shared text and that it could be approved in a few months, Andreas Schwab, one of the proponents of the law, said:
“The EU stands for competition on the merits, but we do not want bigger companies getting bigger and bigger without getting any better and at the expense of consumers and the European economy. Today, it is clear that competition rules alone cannot address all the problems we are facing with tech giants and their ability to set the rules by engaging in unfair business practices. The Digital Markets Act will rule out these practices, sending a strong signal to all consumers and businesses in the Single Market: rules are set by the co-legislators, not private companies!”
This delay will only fuel doubts and suspicions about a law that from the beginning has been much discussed and has received a lot of criticism not just from big tech, who see this law as an attempt to limit their growth and to hit only a few big companies.
The so-called gatekeepers are those companies that have the size requirements to allow an almost monopolistic regime, even if related to a single digital activity (search engine, social network). Therefore, they are not considered giants like Uber or Airbnb, which have interests in several areas but have an enormous influence on competition and on the market.