EU probes Apple, Meta and Google for antitrust violations

The European Union has launched investigations into major tech giants, including Meta, Apple, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, for potential violations of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) enacted in 2022. This move follows announcements by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager and industry head Thierry Breton, indicating a proactive stance against perceived anti-competitive practices. The DMA targets six global tech behemoths, all headquartered outside Europe, namely Alphabet, Apple, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and ByteDance.

The investigations focus on potential breaches related to restrictive practices, with penalties of up to 10% of annual turnover looming for violators. Notably, the EU’s scrutiny comes on the heels of a €1.8bn fine imposed on Apple for antitrust violations in the music streaming sector. Concurrently, the United States has accused Apple of monopolizing the smartphone market in a landmark lawsuit.

In response, Apple expresses willingness to cooperate with the investigation, asserting compliance with the DMA and emphasizing their commitment to privacy and security measures. Meta defends its use of subscription models, while Alphabet is yet to comment. The EU’s investigations center on five key areas, including concerns over app communication, user choice limitations, data privacy, and search result bias.

Thierry Breton underscores the urgency of the EU’s actions, particularly in light of upcoming European Parliament elections. Legal experts anticipate intense legal battles, recognizing the DMA’s pivotal role in reshaping digital market dynamics. Despite the potential for prolonged legal proceedings, the EU remains resolute in its pursuit of ensuring open and competitive digital markets, ultimately aiming to safeguard consumer interests.