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The European parliament and EU member states agreed on a landmark law to curb the market dominance of iconic big tech giants such as Google, Meta, and Apple. Serving as internet gatekeepers, these companies will be subject to new regulations starting on January 2023.

Not only a centerpiece to the European digital strategy but to the global road ahead of the digital economy, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to ensure that big tech platforms would behave in a fair way online, protecting consumers and giving third parties a better chance to compete and innovate.

"The agreement ushers in a new era of tech regulation worldwide," said German MEP Andreas Schwab, who led the negotiations for the European parliament. "The Digital Markets Act puts an end to the ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech companies," he added.

In a nutshell, DMA will establish obligations for gatekeepers, through a list of dos and don’ts they must comply with as part of their daily operations. These include compelling Apple to open up its App Store to alternative payment systems and allowing iPhone users to uninstall company-imposed apps; Google to clearly offer Android users’ alternatives to its search engine, the Google Maps app, or its Chrome browser; and Meta-owned WhatsApp to make themselves available to users on other services such as Signal or Apple's iMessage, and vice-versa.

Apple swiftly expressed regret over the law, saying it was "concerned that some provisions of the DMA will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users". While a Google spokesperson said, "While we support many of the DMA's ambitions on consumer choice and interoperability, we remain concerned about the potential risks to innovation and the variety of choices available to Europeans.”

In context, DMA’s criteria for defining a gatekeeper have been tweaked to include companies earning at least 7.5 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in annual revenue in Europe in the past three years; having a market value of 75 billion euros (services in at least three EU countries); and establishing 45 million users and 10,000 business users in the EU. Violation of the rules could lead to fines as high as 10% of a company's annual global sales as well as periodic penalty payments of up to 5% of average daily turnover.

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