Digital Markets Act, we’re almost there: final agreement by the end of March

The Digital Markets Act could be finally agreed by the end of the month: to say this during a recent speech in Parliament was Margrethe Vestager herself, European Commissioner for Competition and one of the main creators of the new set of laws that aim to limiting the power of tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook / Meta and Microsoft.

Negotiations with representatives of the so-called “Big Tech” are well advanced, says Danish politics, and should resume on 24 March; once an agreement is reached, the process of transformation into effective law should be “almost lightning fast”. At this stage, according to rumors, it remains to be decided:

  • The obligations of the so-called “Gatekeepers”, one of the key concepts of the entire law proposal: these are specifically the platforms that, thanks to their size, constantly influence the market, and can become obstacles to free competition.
  • Some parameters that define precisely who DMA is aimed at. Details such as number of users and total capitalization should have already been defined, but the annual turnover value remains to be established.
  • Who will be in charge of enforcing the law – only the European Union or also the various national antitrust organizations (such as our AGCM)?

Let’s briefly recall the main points of the Digital Markets Act:

  • that a company has been there for at least 8 billion euros in turnover per year within the European Economic Area (EEA) and has a capitalization market higher than 80 billion euros
    • According to Schwabb, such high thresholds make it possible to adopt measures aimed at Big Tech, which therefore do not involve SMEs and European start-ups, which must be given time and space to grow
  • restrictions onuse of data for advertising purposes and on the interoperability of services
  • the ability for users to uninstall pre-installed apps “on a main platform service”
  • restrictions on “killer acquisitions”: The commission could oppose those acquisitions in areas relevant to the DMA to avoid damage to the European market
    • Big companies are required to inform the Commission of any planned merger
  • fines for defaulting “Big” not less than 4% and not more than 20% of global turnover of the previous year

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