Tech giants are likely to head to court over the EU's Digital Markets Act

The EU rolled out its Digital Markets Act (DMA) last November.

Tech giants are likely to head to court over the EU's Digital Markets Act
A man holds his mobile phone in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, February 3, 2021. Picture taken February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

The backstory: The EU rolled out its Digital Markets Act (DMA) last November, which marked online platforms with over 45 million users as “gatekeepers” since they control data and access to platforms. The DMA set forth rules to prevent them from using unfair practices

Under the DMA, these gatekeepers have to follow a set of do's and don'ts. The do's include making sure messaging services can work together, and the don'ts prevent them from promoting their own stuff on their platform.

More recently: For example, In 2017, Google was accused of ranking its own shopping site, Google Shopping, higher than other similar sites. Now, that's a big no-no under the DMA. The goal is to ensure everyone has a fair shot at getting noticed on these massive platforms.

The development: Now, the EU is set to release a list of these gatekeepers, likely to include some big tech players like Google, Meta, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, on September 6. But the EU is gearing up for a legal battle, as some tech giants aren't too happy about the DMA and have lobbied against it. Some fear that it could slow down innovation, while others think there's plenty of room for discussion and change.

Key comments:

"Probably the end of this year, beginning of next year we might see the first cases and I don't think it will stop," said Marc van der Woude, General Court president, in a conference organized by the EU.

"Unfortunately we have lost a lot of time for imposing our rules on the gatekeepers. This will change soon with the DMA. In the future it will be the authority to apply the law again in time — and not too late any more," said Andreas Schwab, the MEP leading the debate on the Digital Markets Act at the European Parliament in 2021.

"A small number of large companies hold significant market power in their hands," said Europe's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who initially proposed the legislation, in a statement last year. "Gatekeepers enjoying an entrenched position in digital markets will have to show that they are competing fairly."