EU hits tech titans with tougher market restraints

The European Union yesterday unveiled a list of digital giants, including Apple, Facebook owner Meta and TikTok parent ByteDance, that will face tough new curbs on how they do business, but the move could trigger a wave of legal battles.

Brussels is working through a dense legislative agenda to build tougher regulation of big tech, arguing it needs to protect European consumers online and to encourage competition in an industry dominated by U.S. giants.

The latest announcement is a milestone in the application of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which will force the largest firms to change their ways under a checklist of dos and don'ts and, regulators hope, create a fairer market.

Observers say the law could open a new battlefront between digital titans and the European Union as some companies consider legal challenges.

The European Commission, the EU's powerful antitrust body, named 22 "core platform" services belonging to five U.S. tech behemoths identified as "gatekeepers": Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and China's ByteDance.

Apple was quick to slam the law, claiming it posed risks to users' privacy while TikTok said "we... fundamentally disagree" with the EU's inclusion of it on the list.

Services caught up in the law include Apple's App Store; Meta's Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp; Google's YouTube video platform and Chrome browser; as well as Apple's Safari.

Operating systems from Apple, Microsoft and Google as well as Alphabet's Google Maps, Play and Shopping are also affected.

They must fully comply with the DMA by March 6, 2024.

There will be fines of up to 10 percent of a company's global revenues for breaking some of the most serious competition rules, and even up...

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