The need for rules regulating Big Tech and the extent of those rules continues to be debated across the globe.

In the EU last month, new legislation imposing requirements on online platforms that act as 'gatekeepers' ‒ the Digital Markets Act (DMA) ‒ took a significant step towards becoming reality. The exact scope and application of the DMA has been heavily negotiated since the European Commission (EC)'s original December 2020 proposal. But the Council of the EU and the European Parliament have now reached a provisional political agreement on rules that will impose significant obligations on those defined as gatekeepers. These could become applicable in early 2023.

Our alert detailsthe reported changes to the draft DMA including amended 'gatekeeper' thresholds, an SME carve-out, provision for 'emerging gatekeepers' to be in scope, amended core obligations and restrictions and harsher sanctions for non-compliance. Significantly, the EC has maintained its position as sole enforcer of the DMA as well as an ability to use a market investigation tool.

Our alert also considers how the DMA will interact with national-level digital market regulation, antitrust law and merger control rules.

Executive Vice-President Vestager hopes the DMA will "inspire all over the planet". Businesses will certainly do well to keep abreast of what could become a 'patchwork' of regulatory approaches as other jurisdictions finalise their own proposals.

Originally published 4 May, 2022

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