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Meta, Google, Apple could be fined 10% of their global turnover: Here's why

European antitrust regulators will be investigating tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Meta platforms for potential breaches of the EU's new Digital Markets Act. If found guilty of a breach, these companies could face fines of up to 10 percent of their global annual turnover.

Written By: Om Gupta New Delhi Published on: March 27, 2024 13:56 IST
Apple, Google, Meta
Image Source : FILE Apple, Google, Meta

European antitrust regulators will investigate tech giants including Apple, Google, and Meta platforms for potential breaches of the EU’s new Digital Markets Act. If proven guilty of a breach, the companies can be fined as much as 10 percent of their global annual turnover.

As per the European Commission, the measures taken by the companies fall short of effective compliance under the DMA. For the unversed, the Digital Markets Act of the European Union, which became effective on March 7, aims to reduce the dominance of tech giants by facilitating user transitions between competing online services such as social media platforms, internet browsers, and app stores. This is intended to create opportunities for smaller companies to enter and compete in the market.

The commission will investigate Apple to ensure that the company complies with obligations to allow users to easily uninstall software applications on its iOS operating system, change default settings on iOS, and access choice screens that allow them to switch to a rival browser or search engine on iPhones.

Regulators are also concerned about "steering," which refers to whether Apple imposes restrictions that prevent app developers from informing users about offers outside of its App Store without any additional charges. 

Regulators have also raised the issue of anti-steering about Alphabet. The investigation will assess whether Alphabet favours its vertical search engines such as Google Shopping, Google Flights, and Google Hotels over competitors and whether it unfairly discriminates against third-party services in Google search results.

The European Commission has called out Apple and Alphabet for their fee structures, stating that they violate the DMA's requirement for services to be "free of charge." Both companies have recently introduced new fees for some services. The Commission is also investigating Apple's new fee structure for alternative app stores and Amazon's ranking practices on its marketplace.

The EU executive aims to conclude the investigations within a year, as outlined under the DMA. It has instructed the companies to retain certain documents to provide access to relevant information for current and future probes.

These EU investigations come as a response to increasing criticism from app developers and business users regarding the companies' compliance efforts.

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Inputs from Reuters


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