The European Commission (Commission), on September 6th, 2023 designated, for the first time, six gatekeepers - Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, Microsoft - under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Accordingly, they will have six months to comply with the obligations stated at the DMA regarding their core platform services.

The DMA's main purpose is to guarantee that digital markets are competitive and equitable. To make sure of that, the DMA regulates gatekeepers, which are significant online platforms that act as a crucial link between consumers and business users and have the authority to prevent the growth of the digital economy. The criteria for becoming a gatekeeper are set out in the DMA, and once a company falls under the scope of one of the three criteria, it is now under certain obligations that it must respect. If the designated gatekeeper does not comply with the obligations, then the Commission has the power to impose fines of up to 10% of the company's global revenue, with the potential for increases to 20% in cases of recurrent violations. The Commission also has the authority for more different empowerments, such as obliging a gatekeeper to sell a business or parts of it. During the process of designation, the Commission has:

  • Opened investigations to Microsoft's Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising, and Apple's iMessage, whether the companies have any proof showing these platforms services of the said undertaking do not qualify as gateways. This investigation should be finished no longer than 5 months.
  • Opened a market investigation to make sure if Apple's iPadOS should be designated as a gatekeeper or not. This investigation should be finished no longer than 12 months.,
  • Stated that while Alphabet's Gmail, Microsoft's, and Samsung's Samsung Internet Browser meet the criteria to be a gatekeeper, the arguments provided the controlling companies have shown that they are not. It follows that Samsung is not designated as gatekeeper with respect to any core platform service.

In total 22 core platform services of these 6 gatekeepers have been designated and undertakings will now have six months to comply with the DMA.

(The European Commission – 06.09.2023)

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