July 14, 2024

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A senior official says the EU crackdown on Apple, Meta and others is aimed at avoiding a forced breakup

A senior official says the EU crackdown on Apple, Meta and others is aimed at avoiding a forced breakup

  • Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Meta and ByteDance now have six months to comply with stricter market rules.
  • Microsoft and Apple challenged the committee’s view that Bing and iMessage are among the services that must follow the new rules.
  • The European Union has stepped up its oversight of big tech companies in recent years, which are often criticized for being anti-American.

European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton spoke to CNBC about the latest regulations regarding big tech companies.

Thierry Monassi | Getty Images News | Getty Images

BRUSSELS – US tech giants are facing tougher rules in Europe, with more regulation announced this week, but a senior EU official told CNBC the aim is to avoid forced breakups of large firms.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, named six “gatekeepers” on Wednesday — companies with an annual turnover of more than 7.5 billion euros ($8 billion) or 45 million monthly active users within the bloc. They are Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Meta and ByteDance, who now have six months to comply with stricter market rules — such as the inability to prevent users from uninstalling any pre-installed software or apps, or to manipulate their own software or apps. services more positively.

“If these companies don’t comply, and I hope they all do, we will have the capacity to do so [a] fine [of] “Up to 10% of global revenue,” Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, told CNBC on Wednesday.

The fine can be increased to 20% if the company in question continues to fail to comply with the rules.

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“And if they continue, yes, we have tools, including breaking up these companies, but I would never want to use them. And I can tell you that the discussion we had with all of these companies was professional and I think it will continue.” “The right decision,” said Britton.

Microsoft and Apple challenged the Commission’s view that their services, Bing and iMessage, must follow the new rules, known collectively as the EU Digital Markets Act. The committee has launched an investigation to look into the arguments of these companies and will decide within five months whether they are valid.

The European Union has stepped up its surveillance of big tech companies in recent years and has often been criticized for being anti-American given that most of these companies are based in the United States.

“I enjoy being able to offer successful companies, European or non-European, access to our digital market, which, by the way, is bigger than the one in the US. So it’s very attractive, we’re happy with that big non-European company.[ies] “They could take advantage of it,” said Britton, who spoke exclusively with CNBC.

On top of the Digital Markets Act, the EU also introduced the Digital Services Act, which focuses on making platforms legally responsible for the content they upload. Failure to comply with the latter may also result in heavy fines and temporary bans on the European market.

Some of the largest technology companies have undergone stress tests in the run-up to the new law’s implementation. For example, stress testing of social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, revealed that some work still needs to be done to tackle illegal content and misinformation.

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Amazon Marketplace, Apple AppStore, Instagram, TikTok and GoogleSearch are among the 19 platforms subject to the strictest rules. More companies could be added to this list, including the likes of Netflix, PornHub, and Airbnb.