Seven companies have declared that they belong to the list of digital giants to which new EU rules against anti-competitive practices will apply, the European Commission announced on Tuesday.
The list includes the American Big 5 -Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Meta (Facebook), Apple and Microsoft -, South Korea's Samsung, and ByteDance, the Chinese owner of the social network TikTok, said the Commission, which will finalise the list of major groups subject to the legislation by 6 September.
After years of chasing infringements in vain in interminable legal proceedings, the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) will enable the Commission to act upstream by imposing rules with which the most powerful players will have to comply or face dissuasive fines.
Proposed by the Commission in December 2020, it was voted through by the European Parliament in July 2022.
The aim is to act before abusive behaviour has destroyed competition, as has often been the case in the past.
The series of specific bans and obligations will affect only those groups designated as 'gatekeepers' - companies that cannot be ignored because of their weight in key markets: online sales, search engines, social networks and operating systems.
The measures will affect giants valued at more than €75 billion on the stock market, with sales in Europe of more than €7.5 billion, and at least 45 million active end users and 10,000 business users in the EU.
Potential 'gatekeepers' that meet these thresholds had until 3 July to notify the Commission, after the DMA came into force at the beginning of May. "We will now examine the notifications" from the seven groups, before drawing up a list of the gatekeepers concerned by early September, who will then have "six months to comply with the DMA," the European executive said.
The new regulation will, for example, establish Commission oversight over any takeover operation by the tech giants, regardless of the size of the target.
As an example, Google should be banned from showing any favouritism towards its own services in its search engine results, as it has been accused of doing with its online shopping site Google Shopping.
The new law will also prevent Amazon from using data generated on its sites by business customers to better compete with them.