The European Union (EU)’s flagship reform for tackling Big Tech platform power, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), will come into force in early 2023, Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday, a delay from an earlier suggested timeframe of this fall.
The DMA restricts gatekeepers in several ways, including:
• limiting how data from different services can be combined,
• banning forced single sign-ons, and
• forbidding app stores from conditioning access on the use of the platform’s own payment systems.
The DMA will almost certainly include Apple, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Meta (Facebook), and possibly a few other “gatekeeper” tech firms.
“The DMA will enter into force next spring and we are getting ready for enforcement as soon as the first notifications come in,” Vestager said today in a speech to the International Competition Network conference in Berlin.
“This next chapter is exciting. It means a lot of concrete preparations,” the EU’s competition chief went on. “It’s about setting up new structures within the Commission, pooling resources from DG Comp [Directorate-General for Competition] and Cnect [Directorate-General for Communications] based on relevant experience. It’s about hiring staff. It’s about preparing the IT systems. It’s about drafting further legal texts on procedures or notification forms. Our teams are currently busy with all these preparations and we’re aiming to come forward with the new structures very soon.”
However there has been some concern that the Commission will not be immediately ready for the new, centralized enforcement role it’s taking on as the DMA’s ‘sheriff’ of Big Tech — a role which will consist of assessing whether platform giants are sticking to the ex ante regulation’s long list of up-front ‘dos and don’ts’, which cover detailed (and sometimes technically complex) compliance obligations related to issues such as self-preferencing, FRAND terms, interoperability and portability, to name a few.
The regulation provides for a three month notification period for gatekeepers to declare themselves to the Commission — and up to around two additional months for the EU’s executive body to confirm the designation — so there will still be a multi month period after the DMA enters into force before any enforcements are likely to flow.
Indeed, it could be fall 2023 before we see any real fireworks.
MacDailyNews Take: Ah, the efficiency of big, lumbering, bull-in-a-china-shop centralized government that’s all excited about spending money, generating spaghettis of red tape, and staffing up regulatory enforcement teams for yet another government office that, even if it doesn’t work, will never go away.
Unintended consequences be damned, as usual and of course.
Margrethe Vestager is a bureaucratic ditz.
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. ― Ronald Reagan
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Great article on Daring Fireball about EU ridiculous regulatory expansionism.