The European Union aims to start enforcing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in spring 2023, Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager announced at the International Competition Network (ICN) conference last week. , as first reported by TechCrunch. Vestager previously stated that the antitrust legislation, which introduces a new set of rules to curb the power of Big Tech, could be implemented as early as October this year.
“The WFD will come into force next spring and we are preparing for its application as soon as the first notifications arrive,” said Vestager during his speech at the ICN. as he pointed out TechCrunchVestager suggests that the Commission will be ready to act against any violations committed by “gatekeepers”, a classification that includes Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, as soon as the laws come into force.
The WFD, which still needs final approval from the Council and Parliament, defines gatekeepers as companies that have a market capitalization of more than €75 billion ($82 billion) and own a social platform or app that it has at least 45 million monthly users. These entities can face fines of “up to 10 per cent of their total worldwide turnover in the previous fiscal year” if they are found to be in breach of DMA rules, a fee that could rise to 20 per cent in the event of a repeat offence.
Under the WFD, guardians will 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 waiting period, coupled with the delayed application of the DMA, could mean that we won’t start seeing real battles between the EU and Big Tech until the end of 2023.
“This next chapter is exciting. It means a lot of concrete preparations,” Vestager explained. “It’s about setting up new structures within the Commission… It’s about recruiting staff. It’s about preparing IT systems. It is about writing more legal texts on procedures or notification forms. Our teams are currently busy with all these preparations and we aim to present the new structures very soon.”
Delaying the implementation of the WFD could give the Commission more time to prepare, but as TechCrunch notes, the delay could also serve as a catalyst for criticism if the Commission fails to address significant violations that occur between now and the time the DMA becomes law.
When passed, the DMA will likely disrupt the business models used by the world’s tech giants. For one thing, it could require Apple to start allowing users to download apps from outside the App Store, an idea Apple CEO Tim is adamantly opposed to, arguing that downloading could “destroy” the app. iPhone security. It could also require WhatsApp and iMessage to be interoperable with smaller platforms, a policy that can make it difficult for WhatsApp to maintain end-to-end encryption.