The EU has announced probes into several of the world’s largest technology businesses for anticompetitive conduct.

Meta, Apple, and Alphabet, which owns Google, are being investigated for possible violations of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which was introduced in 2022.

If they are found to have broken the guidelines, the companies may face large fines of up to 10% of their yearly revenue.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust commissioner, and Thierry Breton, the industry’s leader, announced the probes on Monday.

The DMA imposes requirements on only six corporations, but they are among the world’s largest: Alphabet, Apple, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and ByteDance.

None of the companies are truly based in Europe; five are in the United States, while ByteDance is headquartered in China.

Three of them are now facing questions less than two weeks after delivering their well produced compliance reports.

It comes three weeks after the EU fined Apple €1.8 billion (£1.5 billion) for violating competition regulations over music streaming.

Meanwhile, the United States accused Apple of monopolizing the smartphone market in a landmark case filed last week.

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An Apple spokeswoman said the business will cooperate with the review and is convinced that their plan is compliant with the Digital Markets Act.

They also stated that their teams developed a number of measures to comply with the EU’s historic legislation, as well as privacy and security safeguards for EU users.

“Throughout, we’ve demonstrated flexibility and responsiveness to the European Commission and developers, listening and incorporating their feedback,” they went on to say.

Meanwhile, a Meta spokeswoman stated that the company’s usage of subscriptions as an alternative to advertising is “a well-established business model across many industries”.

“We designed Subscription for No Ads to address several overlapping regulatory obligations, including the DMA… we will continue to engage constructively with the Commission,” they went on to say.

Alphabet has been contacted for comment.

In its release, the EU stated that it will look into five main types of non-compliance:

1 & 2 – Whether Apple and Alphabet do not allow apps to freely engage with users and form contracts with them.
3 – Whether Apple does not provide users enough choices.
4 – Is Meta unjustly asking individuals to pay to avoid their data being used for advertisements?
5 – Whether Google prioritizes the firm’s own products and services in search results
The first two of these investigations include “anti-steering,” and the EU claims that the companies are making it harder for apps to inform customers about ways to pay less for their services other than through the app stores’ own payment options.

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Under the third point, the EU states that Apple must allow customers to easily delete apps from their devices, change default settings, and be offered “choice screens” to allow them to use different browsers or search engines.

The EU claims Apple’s web browser “choice screen” does not provide enough options, and that some apps, such as Apple Photos, cannot be uninstalled at all.

According to Ms Vestager, the probe will take around 12 months to complete; however, Mr Breton later added that it could take slightly longer.

“We suspect that the suggested solutions put forward by the three companies do not fully comply with the DMA,” she went on to say.

“We will now investigate the companies’ compliance with the DMA, to ensure open and contestable digital markets in Europe.”

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The five scenarios are consumer-focused and highly relatable to the majority of individuals who utilize these companies’ products, which total billions of people globally.

“We’re talking about the protection of our citizens; we can’t just sit around and wait,” Thierry Breton said of the EU’s decision to act immediately.

Another possible reason is that European Parliament elections are scheduled for June 2024.

\Dr. Rupprecht Podszun, director of the Institute for Competition Law at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, described it as “a strong signal” from the EU.

“The DMA is designed for quick results,” that’s what he claimed.

“The cases selected by the Commission go to the heart of business models; these are not minor issues for gatekeepers.”

“The legal battles will be tense, but we must always bear in mind that the Court of Justice will have the last word.”