EU considers new antitrust watchdog to fight Big Tech

The European Commission is considering setting up a new directorate, which could be headed by two senior antitrust officials, to enforce tough new rules aimed at curbing big tech’s powers, two people familiar with the matter said.

Such a move could allay concerns that EU competition regulators might struggle to get tech giants like Alphabet unit Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The landmark rules agreed in March will come into effect next year. They will prevent companies from setting their own products as preferences, force app developers to use their payment systems, and use users’ data to power competing services.

The new directorate of the commission’s powerful antitrust office could be headed by Alberto Bacchiega, director for information, communications and media, who is in charge of antitrust and merger cases in the technology, media and consumer electronics sectors, one of the people said.

Mr Bacchiega could also be assisted by Thomas Kramler, head of the unit that handles antitrust cases in the e-commerce and data economy and is currently leading investigations into Apple and Amazon, the person said.

Both officials are already in contact with those at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology who will jointly enforce the DMA, a third person said.

The EU executive said it was organizing internally to effectively enforce the DMA.

“Enforcement of the DMA is estimated to require around 80 employees who may be redeployed internally,” a spokeswoman said.

“The internal organization will be based on the relevant expertise of all DGs (Directorates-General) and services involved and will ensure adequate staffing of the relevant DGs and services,” she said. EU considers new antitrust watchdog to fight Big Tech

Fry Electronics Team

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