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As Big Tech scrambles to satisfy EU standards, probes regarded as probable

A 3D printed Facebook's new redesign logo Meta is shown in front of projected Google logo in this picture shot on November 2, 2021.

BRUSSELS, March 7 (mod1s) - The world's major IT giants have changed their key platform services to meet with EU laws pushing them to play better with rivals but will likely face probes ahead amid concerns their efforts may have fallen short.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is one of the most extensive legislative moves to rein in so-called "Big Tech" - Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and TikTok owner ByteDance - and is likely to change the global technology sector after decades of unrestrained expansion.

Criticism from competitors and users and warning statements from watchdogs imply a few of the six corporations may be in the regulatory sights over suspected non-compliance in the coming months.
If any of the six internet giants are not compliant with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) by the EU's Thursday deadline, they might eventually face investigations and possible penalties of up to 10% of their worldwide revenue.
The European Commission's reply to the compliance efforts might take several months as they assess the adjustments and draw together a watertight case ready to survive a court challenge.
Apple (AAPL.O), opens new tab is the most impacted by the DMA, which requires the iPhone company to open up its closed ecosystem such as enabling software developers to offer their programs to people in the European Union outside of its own App Store.
Yet the introduction of additional taxes such as a "core technology fee" of 50 euro cents per user account each year even if developers elect not to utilize Apple's App Store or payment system has already grabbed EU antitrust watchdog Margrethe Vestager's interest.
Vestager warned on Monday that unique charge structures should not undercut the incentives for firms to transfer to competitors, after slapping a 1.84 billion euro ($2 billion) punishment to Apple for obstructing Spotify (SPOT.N), opens new tab from presenting alternative payment choices outside its App Store. Apple has announced it would appeal the verdict and refused to make more comment.

Rivals such as Swiss email provider Proton, meanwhile, have complained Apple's compliance measures do not go far enough. The Commission refused to comment.
With eight main platform services subject to the DMA, more than any other firm, and despite putting hundreds of IT workers to work on its compliance efforts, Alphabet's (GOOGL.O), opens new tab Google likewise faces the danger of a future inquiry.
The company's forced redesign of its search results would favor aggregators like as and Expedia (EXPE.O), opens new tab, which will gain greater visibility and consequently web traffic thanks to their aggressive lobbying with Google.
That has already generated tension with hotels, airlines and restaurants, with some anticipating to lose as much as 50% of their web traffic and perhaps millions of euros in earnings as customers are drawn to giant online middlemen. Google refused to comment.
Meta (META.O), opens new tab, which claimed Instagram and Facebook users would be asked whether their data may be shared across its platforms, might also face the danger of a probe. Meta refused to comment.
Microsoft (MSFT.O), opens new tab, Amazon (AMZN.O), opens new tab and ByteDance may face less attention initially as EU authorities concentrate their energies on one or two instances and assure a case able to survive a judicial challenge, individuals familiar with the situation said.
Amazon claimed it has worked constructively with the EU authority on the DMA.
"We continue to work hard every day to meet all of our customers' high standards within Europe's changing regulatory environment," a spokeswoman said.
Microsoft and ByteDance refused to comment.
Pressure for an EU probe is also coming from the some of the major six firms themselves.
At least one has notified the European Commission that it was not fair to have to play by the DMA rules while a competitor flouts them, one person with direct knowledge of the case said.
Unlike EU antitrust investigations which might take years to finish, DMA enforcers have only a year to announce their conclusions.
($1 = 0.9173 euros)


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