EU Set to Investigate Apple, Google Compliance With DMA

The European Commission (EC) is reportedly set to launch full-scale investigations of tech giants Apple and Google, looking into their compliance with the EUs new Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The probes are expected to be announced within days, Bloomberg reported Thursday (March 21).

The investigations will primarily focus on the new fees, terms and conditions that Apple and Google have imposed on app developers, according to the report.

The EU’s scrutiny is also expected to extend to Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, for its proposal to charge users a monthly subscription fee for ad-free access to its platforms, the report said.

Such probes could potentially lead to substantial fines, per the report. The DMA empowers the EU to impose penalties of up to 10% of a company’s total annual worldwide revenue, and up to 20% for repeat violations.

In general, the EC aims to conclude its investigations within a year of initiating formal proceedings, according to the report.

It was reported Monday (March 18) that Apple defended its practices under the DMA, saying at a hearing that it has followed the law and pushing back against criticisms that it has not done enough to open its ecosystems to others.

“We were guided first and foremost by ensuring that we’ve complied with the law,” Apple attorney Kyle Andeer testified. “And then second, that we did it in a way that was consistent with our values and consistent with the language that we’ve developed with our users over a very long period of time. And we think we’ve accomplished that.”

Thursday’s report of an upcoming EC investigation comes on the same day as the announcement of a lawsuit filed against Apple by the U.S. Justice Department and 16 state and district attorneys general, accusing the company of antitrust violations. The lawsuit alleges that Apple monopolizes or attempts to monopolize the market for smartphones, including apps, products and services.

On March 4, Apple was fined €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) by the EC for restricting music streaming apps from informing users about cheaper deals on music subscription services.