The European Union has set new rules for large technology companies, benefiting consumers and smaller competitors

Under the provisions of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) package, large technology companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others) are forced to open up their ecosystem of services and managed platforms, allowing access to competition from smaller companies. , which operates in the European market.

Among the provisions included in the new European legislation is the ban on self-favoring – for example, by influencing the result of a generic search launched from an Apple device, so that products and services developed by the technology giant are displayed as a priority.

The list of requirements under EU law also includes the right of users to uninstall any application delivered by the device manufacturer. For example, even the Safari browser or Samsung Internet, if the user wants to use another web browsing solution.

The good news is that the proposed changes will not be too difficult for companies like Apple to allow, since the company has been allowing users since iOS 10 to uninstall many of the pre-installed applications. Anticipating tougher provisions in European law, the Cupertino company has also adjusted its search algorithm in the Apple Store, abandoning many of the practices that could have attracted fines.

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“What we want is simple: fair markets in digital,” said Margrethe Vestager, head of the EU antitrust group.

“Large gatekeeper platforms have prevented businesses and consumers from benefiting from competitive digital markets,” she said.

The Digital Markets Act is the most important initiative to date by EU authorities to combat anti-competitive practices by technology companies, mainly in the US.

“The agreement introduces a new era of global technology regulation,” said German MEP Andreas Schwab, who led the negotiations for the European Parliament.

In accordance with the new provisions applicable in the EU, Apple is ordered to open its App Store for alternative payment service providers as well. This way, users and application developers will no longer be forced to use Apple’s own payment system if they don’t want to.

Google also seems to be preparing to accommodate EU requirements, with the US giant already offering payment alternatives in the Play Store, but currently only available in Korea. Although Google is subject to these new rules in South Korea, the company also imposes certain rules in order to implement a payment system. For example, developers who want to offer users the ability to purchase content or pay for subscriptions outside of the Google Play Store will also be required to offer the ability to pay through Google. Applications that do not implement the Google payment system cannot process any payments outside of the application.

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The list of products and services directly covered by the provisions of the Digital Markets Act also includes WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, App Store, Google Play and many other services belonging to major technology companies.

Importantly, the provisions are only applicable to companies with a market value of over 75 billion euros, annual sales of 7.5 billion euros and at least 45 million monthly users. Thus, small players trying to impose themselves on the market dominated by mega-corporations have some extra chances, at least in the European Union.

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