As initially reported by TechCrunch, the European Union plans to begin enforcing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the spring of 2023, according to Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager. When asked about the timeline for implementing the antitrust legislation, Vestager said that it might go into effect as early as October this year.
During her speech at the ICN, Vestager said, “The DMA will enter into force next spring, and we’re getting ready for enforcement as soon as the first notifications come in.” In an interview with TechCrunch, Vestager said that the Commission will be ready to take action against “gatekeepers” like Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon as soon as the regulations go into effect, which was picked up by the publication.
The Commission may have extra time to prepare if the DMA’s enforcement date is postponed.
To qualify as “gatekeepers,” enterprises must have a market value of over €75 billion ($82 billion) and a social platform or app with at least 45 million monthly users, according to the Digital Media Authority (DMA). If found in violation of the DMA’s guidelines, these entities face fines of “up to 10% of its total worldwide turnover in the prior financial year,” which could rise to 20% if it is a repeat offender.
The DMA stipulates that gatekeepers must notify the Commission of their position within three months, after which they must wait up to two months for confirmation from the EU. As a result of this delay in enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMA), we may not see any real EU-Big Tech confrontations until the end of 2023.
“I’m looking forward to what’s coming up next. What this entails in practical terms is a lot of work,” Vestager clarified. “It’s about creating new Commission structures… It all boils down to filling open positions with qualified individuals. It’s all about IT preparation. It has to do with the creation of new legal documents, such as instructions or notice forms. Our staff are hard at work right now, and we hope to have the new buildings ready in the near future.”
If the DMA’s enforcement is delayed, it will allow time for the Commission to prepare, but if the Commission fails to address any big infractions that occur between now and when the DMA becomes law, the delay could serve as a trigger for criticism.
When the DMA is enacted, the world’s tech giants will be forced to rethink their business strategies. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, sideloading might “damage” an iPhone’s security. If this were to happen, Apple would be forced to allow its users to download software from sources other than the App Store. In addition, it may compel WhatsApp and iMessage to be interoperable with smaller platforms, a policy that may make it more difficult for WhatsApp to retain end to end encrypted messaging.