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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

24 Companies Advocate for EU DMA Enforcement, Claiming Big Tech Disrespect

A wide array of major technology and media companies have put their signatures on an open letter to call out tech giants for not adhering to the new European Union digital competition rules. The companies defined as “gatekeepers”, including Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and TikTok owner ByteDance, are yet to fully engage with others in their industry, according to the signatories.

The EU’s Digital Markets Act identifies companies with over 45 million monthly active users and a market capitalization of over 75 billion euros as gatekeepers. These companies are required to ensure that their messaging apps can work with those of their rivals and let users decide which apps come pre-installed on their devices. In addition, they must refrain from implementing practices that give preference to their services over others, as per EU regulations.

In an open letter, the signatories, including international media group Schibsted, eco-friendly search engine Ecosia, privacy-focused search engine Qwant, secure messaging app Element, and VPN service ProtonVPN, criticized the gatekeepers for not engaging with their proposed compliance solutions.

Moreover, the letter highlighted a lack of transparency in regards to the plan post-March 7, 2024, which is a key deadline for the six significant tech gatekeepers to comply with the DMA.

The letter stated that the companies creating the signatories represent thousands of businesses influenced by the DMA and urged the gatekeepers to engage in constructive dialogue with business users and other stakeholders, including business and consumer associations, to ensure compliance with the DMA.

The signatories also called upon the European Commission and the European Parliament to utilize all the available measures to ensure that the gatekeepers adhere to both the letter and spirit of the DMA, starting from March 7, 2024.

The letter was signed by 24 companies, including Adevinta, Allegro, Billiger.de, Ceneo, CompareGroup, Ecosia, Element, Favi, Heureka Group, Idealo, Kelkoo, Ladenzeile, Le Guide.com, OLX, Open-Xchange, Panther Holding GmbH, Preis.de, Prisjakt, Proton, Qwant, Runnea, Schibsted, Solute, and Vipps.

While the EU Commission and the EU Parliament have yet to comment on the issue, CNBC reached out to Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and ByteDance for their comments.

Christian Kroll, CEO and co-founder of Ecosia, emphasized the importance of regulators keeping large technology companies in check to prevent financial consequences for businesses like his. He urged EU policymakers to deliver a digital market that supports fair competition and choice for European consumers and businesses.

Kroll also expressed the need for proactive engagement and a fair “choice screen” proposal from Google to drive a positive shift in market share for competing search engines. He emphasized that the global interest in choice screens indicates the significance of digital regulators focusing on fair competition.

In a separate development, the EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager met with the CEOs of Apple, Alphabet, and Qualcomm to discuss regulation and competition policy compliance, highlighting the ongoing scrutiny of tech giants and their compliance with EU regulations.

This open letter serves as a call to action for tech giants to ensure compliance with the EU’s digital competition rules for fair competition and transparency moving forward.

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