The EU is getting a whole lot tougher on Big Tech

EU Digital Markets Act
(Image credit: Unsplash)

The European Union has been trying to rein in the largest American (and global) tech companies for some time, levying record fines against Google, Amazon, and others, and may now be a step closer after the European Parliament voted to expand the scope of the its landmark Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

The thrust of the DMA regulations is to clamp down on "gatekeepers", which encompasses Apple, Meta, Amazon, Google, and others, as the EU argues these companies use their dominances to crush competition. 

The so-called "core platform services" include cloud computing, video sharing, social networks, and others. 

EU Digital Markets Act

MEPs voted to expand the list of services that fall under the DMA to include web browsers, virtual assistants, and connected TV, as well as expanding the list of acceptable practices, including rules for service interoperability, restrictions to “killer acquisitions”, EU enforcement, and the role of national competition authorities.

The vote to expand the DMA was 642 in favour, eight against, and 46 abstentions. 

German lawmaker Andreas Schwab, a key player in writing the bill, hailed the vote: "Today’s adoption of the DMA negotiating mandate sends a strong signal: the [EU] stands against unfair business practices used by digital giants. We will make sure that digital markets are open and competitive. This is good for consumers, good for businesses and good for digital innovation." 

Schwab continued: "Our message is clear: the EU will enforce the rules of the social market economy also in the digital sphere, and this means that lawmakers dictate the rules of competition, not digital giants." 

The expansion of the DMA comes after European lawmakers have been rankled for years over the increasing power of the big American tech companies, all of which operate (and have sizeable usernames) on the continent. The EU is also planning a Digital Services Act to regulate more e-commerce activity, misinformation, and online advertising. 

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Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.