New rulebook required for all tech companies, not just Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft; says EU’s antitrust chief

Roben Walker
New rulebook required for all tech companies not just Facebook Google Amazon Apple and Microsoft says EUs antitrust chief

BRUSSELS: Draft rules aimed at reining in the power of companies such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc unit Google should cover more than just the top five tech giants, Europe’s antitrust chief said .

Known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the proposed rules are Europe’s way of ensuring that U.S. tech companies treat rivals and users fairly after a number of antitrust investigations failed to ensure a level playing field.

European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager’s proposal targets companies with more than 6.5 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in annual European turnover in the last three years or 65 billion euros in market value in the last financial year, and which provide a core platform service in at least three EU countries. That would be likely to impact about 10 dominant companies.

But European Parliament lawmaker Andreas Schwab wants to ratchet up the revenue threshold to 10 billion euros and the market value to at least 100 billion, in effect singling out Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

“The DMA is about companies who have gatekeeping power, and what responsibility you get if you have that kind of power. What we have been trying to describe are the different features that would describe that kind of market power. It is not about a list of companies, shorter or longer,” Vestager told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s about the market presence and the power you get from that market presence. And I think I think it’s absolutely normal to have these debates…But for me, it’s very important that this is what it’s about,” Vestager said.

She also said she was open to a call by the French and German national watchdogs and their peers in other European Union countries to be given some enforcement powers for the DMA as long as they all sing from the same hymn.

“We want a single European rulebook. We have tabled this proposal to avoid fragmentation,” Vestager said.

The DMA has to be thrashed out with EU countries and lawmakers before it can become law.

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