EU's Digital Market Law Ends Apple (AAPL.US), Google (GOOGL.US), and Meta (META.US) will be investigated

Zhitongcaijing · 03/25 11:17

The Zhitong Finance App learned that Apple (AAPL.US), Google (GOOGL.US), and Meta (META.US) face the risk of being fined huge amounts as the EU launches a full investigation into whether tech giants have complied with strict new laws limiting the power of these companies.

The European Commission said on Monday that according to the European Union's Digital Market Law (DMA), Apple and Google's app store rules will be the target of the first batch of investigations. The investigation includes how Google's search results may unfairly bias its own services and how Apple may make it harder for users to choose alternatives to their Safari browser.

New subscription fees for Meta's Instagram and Facebook platforms will also be the target of the investigation, which could charge these companies up to 10% of the company's global annual revenue and up to 20% for repeat offenders.

“We doubt that the proposed solutions proposed by these three companies are not in full compliance with the DMA,” said EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The committee also warned that Apple's new fee structure for alternative app stores and Amazon (AMZN.US) ranking practices in its market will be further examined.

Recently, the EU investigation and the US comprehensive antitrust investigation have dealt a combined blow to Apple. Last week, the US Department of Justice and 16 attorneys general sued Apple, accusing the iPhone manufacturer of violating antitrust laws by blocking rivals from accessing hardware and software features on its devices. The European Union also recently imposed a fine of 1.8 billion euros (2 billion US dollars) on Apple for preventing music streaming apps from informing users about cheaper deals.

According to the DMA, six tech giants — Google, Apple, Amazon, Meta, TikTok parent company ByteDance, and Microsoft (MSFT.US) — will be subject to a series of new bans and obligations.

For Apple, this meant breaking its previously closed ecosystem of iPhone apps to allow users to download software from other online stores and the web.

Apple has made efforts to comply with EU rules, including abandoning commissions of up to 30% on developers since launching the App Store in 2008. However, Apple has added other costs to software manufacturers, including charging a 3% payment processing fee for apps using Apple's in-app purchase system. Additionally, for software that has been installed more than 1 million times within 12 months, Apple will also charge 0.5 euros for every app installed through the Apple Store or third-party marketplace.

Last year, Google faced the fourth case of abuse of its dominant position in the EU in recent years — EU regulators investigating Google's behavior with regard to ad technology. Earlier, the EU fined it more than 8 billion euros as part of three more EU court decisions against the company.

Meanwhile, Meta continues to face EU investigations into Facebook Marketplace's abuse of dominance, which the European Commission says harms competition among classified advertising competitors.