EU Initiates Investigations into Apple, Alphabet, and Meta Pursuant to Digital Markets Act

The European Union has initiated significant investigations into tech giants Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Meta (Facebook’s owner) under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA).

This marks the inaugural utilization of the DMA, designed to mitigate the market dominance of major digital platforms and establish a more equitable digital environment for European citizens and businesses.

The investigations are focused on potential constraints imposed by Apple and Alphabet on developers, preventing them from directing users to alternative purchasing options outside of their app stores, as well as Meta’s restrictions on user autonomy concerning the use of personal data for advertising purposes.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has voiced apprehensions that Apple and Alphabet’s enforcement of DMA regulations on anti-steering may not align with the legislative intent.

Additionally, the investigations are exploring Alphabet’s search results for potential self-preference of its services and Apple’s limitations on selecting different browsers and search engines.

Fines and Regulatory Scrutiny

The European Commission has set a goal to conclude these investigations within 12 months.

EU Initiates Investigations into Apple, Alphabet, and Meta Pursuant to Digital Markets Act
EU targets Apple, Alphabet’s anti-competitive practices, Meta’s data use limitations, warning of fines up to 10% turnover.

If any of the companies are found to have violated the DMA, they could face fines of up to 10% of their global turnover, with the possibility of increasing to 20% for repeated infringements.

This regulatory action follows a €1.8 billion fine imposed on Apple for anti-competitive practices in music streaming, marking a significant step in the EU’s efforts to regulate Big Tech’s market dominance.

Tthe Commission is currently gathering information on Amazon for potential preferencing of its brand products on its e-commerce platform and is examining Apple’s new fee structure for alternative app stores.

These actions are part of a broader regulatory scrutiny that includes a recent lawsuit by the US Department of Justice against Apple for allegedly leveraging its smartphone market dominance to suppress competition.

Global Backlash and Company Responses

The investigations into Apple, Alphabet, and Meta come amid increasing global scrutiny of Big Tech’s business practices.

EU Initiates Investigations into Apple, Alphabet, and Meta Pursuant to Digital Markets Act
Global scrutiny mounts on Big Tech; US acts on Google and Amazon; FTC pursues Meta; Apple defends practices amidst legal challenges.

The US has taken action against Google for monopolistic control of the digital advertising market and Amazon for alleged marketplace power abuse. The Federal Trade Commission is pursuing Meta to unwind its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.

In response to these legal challenges, Apple has defended its practices, arguing that the lawsuit threatens its ability to create integrated technology products. Apple and Google have yet to comment on the EU’s latest probes, while Meta declined to comment.

These regulatory efforts underscore a growing global backlash against the tight control exerted by Big Tech companies over their ecosystems, which critics argue stifles competition and innovation.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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