Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission, announced the EU (European Union) will begin enforcing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) by spring of 2023, according to a TechCrunch report. Vestager had earlier said that the law aimed at curbing big tech companies could come into effect as early as October this year.
“The DMA will enter into force next spring and we are getting ready for enforcement as soon as the first notifications come in,” said Vestager during a speech on May 5, according to a commission press statement. “This next chapter is exciting. It means a lot of concrete preparations. It’s about setting up new structures within the Commission. It’s about drafting further legal texts on procedures or notification forms. Our teams are currently busy with all these preparations and we’re aiming to come forward with the new structures very soon,” she added.
The DMA, which negotiators agreed to in Brussels in March, targets ‘gatekeeper companies’, which are platforms like Facebook and Google with the power to control distribution in their markets. Some of the key rules set up for these gatekeepers include:
- Make message apps interoperable to make sure that users are not tied to one network
- Let users choose a default search engine, web browser and virtual assistant when they buy a new smartphone
- Ensure fair access conditions for app stores
- Gain explicit consent to combine personal data to target ads
- Ban companies from ranking their own products higher than others
- Fine companies as much as 10 per cent of their global annual sales for an initial breach of the law, rising to 20 per cent for repeat infringements.
- Companies that routinely violate the rules will be temporarily banned from conducting mergers and acquisitions.
The negotiators had agreed that gatekeepers include companies with a market value of 75 billion euros or 7.5 billion euros in annual revenue within the EU, and at least 45 million monthly end-users and 10,000 yearly business users in at least one core platform, including web browsers and virtual assistants.