The European Union is aiming to start enforcing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in spring 2023, Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager announced at the International Competition Network (ICN) conference last week, as first reported by TechCrunch. Vestager previously said antitrust legislation introducing a new rulebook to curb Big Tech’s power could be implemented as early as October this year.
“The DMA will come into force next spring and we are preparing for enforcement as soon as the first notifications are received,” Vestager said during her speech at the ICN. As noted by TechCrunchVestager suggests that the commission will be ready to take action against any violations by “gatekeepers” – a classification that includes Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon – once the laws come into force.
The DMA, which still needs final approval from the Council and Parliament, defines Gatekeeper as a company with a market capitalization of over €75 billion ($82 billion) and owning a social platform or app with at least 45 million monthly users. These companies can face fines of “up to 10 percent of their total worldwide sales for the previous fiscal year” if a violation of the DMA rules is found, a fee that can rise to 20 percent for repeat offenses.
Under the DMA, gatekeepers have three months to declare their status to the Commission, followed by a waiting period of up to two months to receive confirmation from the EU. This wait coupled with the delayed DMA enforcement could mean we won’t see any real fighting between the EU and Big Tech until the end of 2023.
“This next chapter is exciting. That means a lot of concrete preparations,” explained Vestager. “It’s about building new structures within the Commission… It’s about hiring staff. It is about the preparation of the IT systems. It is about the elaboration of further legal texts on procedures or reporting forms. Our teams are currently busy with all these preparations and we want to present the new structures very soon.”
Rolling back enforcement of the DMA could give the Commission more time to prepare, but how TechCrunch notes that the delay could also serve as a catalyst for criticism if the Commission fails to address major breaches that occur between now and the time the DMA comes into force.
If the DMA is passed, it will likely disrupt the business models of the world’s tech giants. For one, it could require Apple to allow users to download apps from outside the App Store, an idea Apple CEO Tim is firmly opposed to, arguing that sideloading could “break” an iPhone’s security. It could also require WhatsApp and iMessage to become interoperable with smaller platforms, a policy that could make it harder for WhatsApp to maintain end-to-end encryption.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/8/23062666/eu-start-enforcing-the-dma-digital-markets-act-spring-2023-big-tech-regulation The EU could start enforcing rules regulating big tech in spring 2023