By the end of March, the EU wants to tie Google and Apple’s hands with the Digital Markets Act
The European Union has been heavily scrutinizing big tech companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon, in the past few years. And now it seems it is really trying to reach a deal with EU lawmakers in order to rein in such big tech giants by the end of March, reports AppleInsider.
EU looking to make the Digital Markets Act into law by the end of the month
The Digital Markets Act is a proposal that looks into giving smaller companies more competitive power in comparison to big tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Meta. This specific proposal is something Apple has disputed for quite some time, listing the possible security issues the act could cause. This proposal is quite similar (but not the same) to the bill that US officials have proposed that would force Apple to allow side-loading of apps (basically, installing apps from places other than the App Store) on iPhones and iPads.
The Digital Markets Act aims to create a competition-friendly environment in, well, digital markets. Measures included in the Digital Markets Act include forcing Apple and Google to allow users to uninstall pre-installed apps on their devices, as well as forcing them to eliminate self-preferencing in search results. On top of that, these companies should provide more transparency over advertising metrics.
The Act was first proposed by Margarethe Vestager, and she stated that there is currently some good progress in negotiations, and it seems the Commission might as well aim to reach a political agreement on the proposal by the end of March.
She also added that if this happens, the Act would be legislation “with almost the speed of lightning”. For those of you who are curious, the Act was introduced back in 2020, alongside another antitrust proposal, called the Digital Services Act, which addresses how big content sharing platforms manage illegal and harmful content, and requires them to moderate such content quickly.
As you can imagine, both proposals have severe penalties for companies that choose not to comply. The process of making them into laws, however, has been slowed down by multiple disputes.
Antitrust regulations and big tech companies
As you may have already heard, Google and Apple have not been silent on the proposals from the EU, as well as similar proposals from the US. Cupertino has listed primarily security and privacy issues that could occur if such proposals go into effect. Google, on the other hand, listed how its services could change in case a similar US bill becomes reality, and underlined that many of its integrated services will be harmed by this law.On the other hand, back in Europe, the Digital Services Act, as is believed by European Parliament officials, could reach a deal with EU lawmakers by the end of June, so things are speeding up there as well.
However, in order for proposed legislation in the EU to become law, those have to reach a deal with EU member countries, which is usually a long process. But it could probably go quicker this time. More specifically, EU lawmaker Christel Schaldemose is the one who is steering negotiations on that topic of the DSA and stated that a deal could be made by the end of June.
As we already mentioned above, this is not the only act that Apple has been opposing. In the US, a proposal that could force it to allow people to download apps from other places than the App Store (the so-called sideloading) has also been progressing despite Apple’s vocal concerns. The company has sent letters to US officials describing how allowing side-loading could damage the iPhone protections and lead to people getting malware on their iPhones or iPads.