ANTITRUST

New EU Rules Target Google For Anti-Competitive Practices

The European Union (EU) has leveled new rules against Google in a bid to help rein in the tech giant, including regulations on data sharing and the operation of digital marketplaces, Reuters reported.

The new rules, under the Digital Services Act (DSA), could force Big Tech firms like Google to offer data access to smaller firms according to reasonable, standardized and non-discriminatory terms, per the report.

The EU has been frustrated by its failed attempts to meaningfully limit Google's dominance of the market by handing down over $8 billion in fines in the past, along with other top digital companies like Facebook, Amazon and Apple in their own domains.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU Digital Chief and top antitrust enforcer, recently told Reuters that the idea was to "prevent a situation like the ones we have had with the Google cases so that we still would have competition,” ensuring that other rivals would also have an opportunity.

However, despite the concerns over dominance and past antitrust actions related to Google's search engine and the Android mobile operating system, the enforcers say they haven't seen much more competition.

The EU is also looking at putting other rules into place limiting unfair contract terms, which could target Amazon's dual status as a marketplace for merchants and a competitor, and also Apple's reported unfair treatment of Apple Music rivals.

The DSA will also take aim at businesses that profit from misinformation and false advertising claims — a shot at Facebook, Reuters noted, which has recently come under fire for failing to police hate speech and is facing advertiser boycotts.

Most recently, Google faced a lawsuit earlier this year after the EU levied a €2.4-billion ($2.6 billion) fine against the company for allegedly using its business model to divert traffic to its own ads rather than the competition. Google, in response, accused the court of trying to stifle innovation.

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