The European Union intends to start implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the spring of 2023, Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager announced last week at a conference of the International Competition Network (ICN), as the first reported TechCrunch. Vestager said earlier that antitrust law, which introduces a new set of rules to curb the power of Big Tech, could be implemented as early as October this year.
“The DMA will take effect next spring and we are preparing to implement it as soon as the first notices arrive,” Vestager said during her speech on ICN. As he noticed TechCrunchVestager suggests the Commission will be ready to take action against any breach by the “gatekeeper” – a classification that includes Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon – as soon as the laws take effect.
The DMA, which still needs final approval from the Council and Parliament, defines gatekeepers as companies with a market capitalization of over 75 billion euros ($ 82 billion) and owning a social platform or application that has at least 45 million users a month. These entities may face penalties of “up to 10 percent of total world turnover in the previous financial year” if they are found to be in breach of DMA rules, a fee that could be increased to 20 percent in the event of a repeat offense.
Under the DMA, gatekeepers will have three months to report their status to the Commission, followed by a waiting period of up to two months to receive confirmation from the EU. This waiting period, along with the delayed implementation of the DMA, could mean that we will not start to see any real battles between the EU and Big Tech until the end of 2023.
“This next chapter is exciting. That means a lot of concrete preparations, “Vestager explained. “It’s about establishing new structures within the Commission … It’s about hiring staff. It is about the preparation of information systems. It is a matter of drafting further legal texts on procedures or notification forms. Our teams are currently busy with all these preparations and our goal is to come up with new structures soon. ”
Withdrawing the implementation of the DMA could give the Commission more time to prepare, but as TechCrunch points out that the postponement could also serve as a catalyst for criticism if the Commission fails to address the major violations that have taken place from now until the DMA becomes law.
Once adopted, the DMA is likely to disrupt business models used by world technology giants. First, it could demand that Apple start allowing users to download apps outside the App Store, an idea strongly opposed by Apple CEO Tim, who argues that side-loading could “ruin” iPhone security. It could also require WhatsApp and iMessage to become interoperable with smaller platforms, a rule that could make it harder for WhatsApp to maintain end-to-end encryption.