Reportedly, the European Union is moving forward with a legislation to significantly regulate tech giants such as Apple Inc. It is putting plans in motion to force ‘gatekeepers’ to allow access to software and hardware, along with setting up an internal department to meet new rules. An endorsed agreement from the European Parliament’ Internal Market Committee revealed these details.
Earlier this week, EU governments reached the provisional agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) with 43 votes in favour, one against, along with one abstention. Clearly, this showcased a wide consensus from the lawmakers to extensively regulate tech giants. Almost certainly, Apple is set to receive the classification of a ‘gatekeeper,’ getting affected by the regulation owing to size of its annual turnover in the EU. Along with it, its ownership and operation of platforms with a massive number of active users, in addition to its ‘entrenched and durable position.’ This is due to how long Apple has met these criteria, and will hence be tied to these set out in the DMA.
The Act could compel Apple to make major changes to the Messages, Siri, App Store, FaceTime, third party browsers in Europe. A more recent addition to the DMA is the need to make messaging, video and voice calling interoperable. Specifically, these rules indicates Meta platforms such as MesseEnger or WhatsApp could ask to interoperate with the framework of Apple’s iMessage which it would have to follow.
The goal of these new rules:
This provisional agreement goes on to set a ‘High-Level Group’ of central European digital regulators to coordinate national ones across member states. Moreover, it makes it necessary for ‘gatekeepers’ to create an independent ‘compliance function.’ The new group must incorporate compliance officers to keep track of the company complying with EU legislation. Mainly, this must be with the use of sufficient authority, resources, along with access to management, led by an ‘independent senior manager with distinct responsibility for the compliance function.’
Additionally, these rules mainly set to face tech companies such as Apple having ‘a dual role’ with control over hardware and software alike to enable any developer to get access to any existing hardware feature. This could have significant implication on the degree of integration developers can gain on Apple platforms such as contactless payment outlets.
Reportedly, EU lawmakers provisionally approved the DMA about two months ago. The proposals are next to set to be put to a final vote in the European Parliament in July, prior to the European Council formally adopting it, and being published in the EU official Journal.