The European Commission has named six tech giants as “gatekeepers” under its Digital Markets Act.
That distinction, announced Wednesday (Sept. 6), applies to Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft, and gives the companies six months to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), designed to curb anti-competitive behavior.
“Under the DMA, the European Commission can designate digital platforms as ‘gatekeepers’ if they provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers in relation to core platform services,” the commission (EC) said in a news release.
Those services include things like social networks (Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, and ByteDance-owned TikTok), “intermediation” (Google Ads, Amazon Marketplace, the Apple App Store) and operating systems (Android and iOS).
“We note the designations that the European Commission has made and are committed to delivering services that meet our customers’ requirements within Europe’s evolving regulatory landscape,” an Amazon spokesperson told PYMNTS. “We will continue to work constructively with the European Commission as we finalize our implementation plans.”
A spokesperson for Apple shared this statement: “We remain very concerned about the privacy and data security risks the DMA poses for our users. Our focus will be on how we mitigate these impacts and continue to deliver the very best products and services to our European customers.”
“We support the DMA’s goal of creating a competitive playing field in Europe but fundamentally disagree with this decision,” a ByteDance spokesperson said.
“TikTok has brought choice to a space largely controlled by incumbents and this decision risks undermining the DMA’s stated goal by protecting actual gatekeepers from newer competitors like TikTok. We’re extremely disappointed that no market investigation was conducted prior to this decision and are evaluating our next steps.”
Google addressed the designation on its company blog Wednesday.
“The DMA will require Google and other companies to make various changes to the way their products and services work,” wrote Oliver Bethell, Google’s legal director.
“For us, for example, that will mean building on the work we have done to provide consumers with information and opportunities to switch platforms or manage their data (such as Google Takeout and our Google Transparency Reports) and remind people about their choices (such as the choice screens we now offer in Europe).”
“We accept our designation as a gatekeeper under the Digital Markets Act and will continue to work with the European Commission to meet the obligations imposed on Windows and LinkedIn under the DMA,” Microsoft said.
PYMNTS has contacted Meta for comment as well but has not yet received a reply.
Meanwhile, the EC said it has opened investigations into the merit of Microsoft and Apple’s contentions that some of their services don’t qualify as gateways. For Microsoft, those services are Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising; and for Apple its iMessage.
Apple argues that iMessage can be — and is — used in tandem with a number of other messaging services.
“iMessage is designed and marketed for personal consumer communications, and we look forward to explaining to the commission why iMessage is outside the scope of the DMA,” the company said in a statement to PYMNTS.
And Microsoft said it welcomed the investigation, arguing it would show that its products “operate as challengers in the market.”
Passed last year, the DMA forbids platforms to prioritize their own services over those of competitors, and from amalgamating personal data from different services. It also bars companies from using data collected from third-party merchants to employ competitive practices against them, and says companies must allow users to download apps from rival platforms.