EU Introduces Strict Rules on Big Tech Companies to Promote Competition and Protect Users

Big tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, could soon face new wide-reaching regulations in the European Union, under new legislation presented today by the European Commission (via CNBC).

european parliament

Amid concern for smaller European companies looking to compete in the European market, the European Commission today presented two new pieces of legislation that aim to strictly regulate how big tech companies operate in the EU.

The Digital Markets Act, which has been planned for some time, includes the prohibition of self-preferencing. This means that App Store search results, for example, cannot preference apps made by Apple itself over third-party apps. Moreover, companies will be obliged to allow users to uninstall all pre-installed apps. Performance metrics will also have to be shared for free with advertisers and publishers.

Apple has already gone some way to meeting the rules set out in the Digital Markets Act. For example, as of iOS 10, Apple has allowed users to uninstall default apps. Likewise, last year, Apple adjusted its App Store search algorithm so that fewer of its own apps appear at the top of search results. Nevertheless, Apple will be equally obligated to meet the demands of the legislation, including sharing its internal metrics, if and when it comes into law.

Failure to comply with the rules may result in hefty fines, as high as ten percent of the company's worldwide annual turnover. It is hoped that the regulation will result in long-term, meaningful changes, rather than just repeatedly fining rule breaches.

Another measure to punish big tech companies is forced disinvestment. Systematic rule breaches could result in the demand that companies sell parts of their business "if no other remedy is available."

On the other hand, the Digital Services Act is designed to tackle illegal and harmful content by obliging platforms to rapidly remove it. Large fines also follow breaches in this area. The EU's competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, said that the two proposals would serve a dual purpose:

To make sure that we, as users, have access to a wide choice of safe products and services online. And that businesses operating in Europe can freely and fairly compete online just as they do offline.

Although the two pieces of legislation must be approved by European governments, there are reportedly indications that they could come into force faster than usual. Other governments around the world have also announced tougher regulations on big tech, such as the UK government, which has also announced a fine of ten percent of global turnover unless platforms fail to remove illegal content quickly.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

R3k Avatar
23 months ago

Permitting to uninstall TV, Stocks, Health, Home and other specialized apps for a niche target is not enough, they should not be installed in the first place. They should be like any other app, and have a presence at the app store.

Bundling is bloat.
Many people won't even realize the apps exist if they're not bundled with the. Im glad I know about the health app, I wouldn't have gone looking for it on the App Store.

I think fair enough for Apple to say "You bought our hardware, here are our apps that go with it. This is the user experience we want you to have access too"
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
23 months ago
Great to see this regulation has some teeth behind it. GDPR while being a pain in the butt to get right as a business sometimes, has, on a whole been fantastic in cutting down the amount of data companies hold. Everything from having your data removed from some online shop you bought from 10 years ago, to forcing political parties remove your details from their database so they can stop sending bloody letters campaigning for or against irrelevant issues.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rojaaemon Avatar
23 months ago

Permitting to uninstall TV, Stocks, Health, Home and other specialized apps for a niche target is not enough, they should not be installed in the first place. They should be like any other app, and have a presence at the app store.

Bundling is bloat.
OK, if you don’t mind having to help your parents install some basic apps on their new smartphone.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
23 months ago

Is this a joke?
No. It is to ensure they follow the law and not just keep paying little fines or lengthy legal battles.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
23 months ago
EU slowly but surely destroying everything good in technology.

Privacy pop-ups (that people accept without even reading) at every webpage load. The web was a so much better experience before.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
applicious84 Avatar
23 months ago
.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iOS App Store General Feature Clorange

Apple Fined €5 Million for Ninth Time in the Netherlands Over Third-Party In-App Payment Systems

Tuesday March 22, 2022 5:00 am PDT by
Apple has been hit with its ninth €5 million ($5.5 million) fine in the Netherlands for ostensibly continuing to insufficiently meet new requirements regarding alternative payment systems for dating apps, Reuters reports. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said that Apple had sent it "new proposals" on Monday in an attempt to resolve the company's dispute over allowing...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Apple Fined Another 5 Million Euros by Dutch Competition Regulator Over Dating App Payment Requirements

Monday February 7, 2022 8:49 am PST by
The Netherlands' Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has fined Apple five million euros for a third consecutive week for allegedly failing to satisfy the requirements it set regarding alternative payment systems for dating apps, according to Reuters. The ACM today said it has still not received enough information from Apple to assess whether Apple has properly complied with the order,...
iOS App Store General Feature Desaturated

Apple Fined Another €5 Million Over Dating Apps as Dutch Regulators Say Apple Has 'Refused to Put Forward Any Serious Proposals'

Monday February 21, 2022 12:10 pm PST by
Dutch regulators have levied another fine of €5 million against Apple in a continued dispute over alternative payment systems for dating apps. Apple's total fines have now reached €25 million as regulators assess weekly fines up to a total of €50 million or until Apple satisfies the regulatory requirements. In a statement shared with TechCrunch, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Apple's Fines in Dutch Antitrust Case Could Exceed €50 Million

Friday March 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
Apple is facing yet another €5 million ($5.5 million) fine in the Netherlands for failing to sufficiently meet recently mandated alternative payment system requirements for dating apps, reports Reuters. Apple has been fined €45 million ($49.5 million) by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to date, with Apple racking up a new fine each week. The ACM initially said that it...
play store google

Google Criticizes EU Regulators for Ignoring Apple in Bid to Get $5.1 Billion Antitrust Fine Annulled

Monday September 27, 2021 1:32 pm PDT by
Google today lambasted European Union regulators for ignoring Apple and the rivalry between Apple and Android in the antitrust accusations that have been levied against Google, reports Reuters. Apple was brought up as part of Google's attempt to get a massive 4.34 billion euro ($5.1 billion) fine annulled. The European Commission first levied the fine against Google in 2018 because Google...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

U.S. Senate Panel Approves Antitrust Bill That Would Allow Sideloading

Thursday January 20, 2022 10:43 am PST by
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which means it will now move on to the Senate floor for a vote, reports The Wall Street Journal. The bill, which was first introduced over the summer, would require major changes to the App Store if passed in its current incarnation. It is designed to prevent "dominant platforms" from "abusing...
app store blue banner uk fixed

Apple Could Be Forced to Follow New Digital Competition Rules or Face Fines, Under UK Proposal

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:25 am PDT by
The U.K. government is today unveiling its plan to regulate tech giants, such as Apple, to ensure that the U.K's digital market, which includes platforms such as the App Store, is open for competition, and not dominated by any particular company. In April, the U.K. created the DMU or Digital Markets Unit under the Competition and Markets Authority. With newly given powers, that new unit will ...
app store blue banner uk fixed

Apple Clashes With UK Regulator in Fierce Response to Warning That Could Require It to 'Redesign the iPhone'

Friday March 11, 2022 9:04 am PST by
Apple has aggressively defended its ecosystem in a newly-published response to the UK's competition watchdog. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today published Apple's response to its Interim Report on mobile ecosystems, as well responses from dozens of other companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Epic Games. The detailed 47-page response from Apple aggressively...

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...