Apple’s iMessage and three Microsoft services outside the Digital Markets Law: Brussels will not apply such strict rules to the giants

Apple’s iMessage and three Microsoft services outside the Digital Markets Law: Brussels will not apply such strict rules to the giants

The European Commission announced today that it had excluded four services from technological ‘giants’ Apple and Microsoft from the new Digital Markets Law (DMA), with strict standards for content intermediaries, concluding that they are not.

“The Commission adopted decisions closing four market investigations launched on September 5, 2023 under the Digital Markets Act, concluding that Apple and Microsoft should not be designated as content intermediaries [‘gatekeepers’] for the following main platform services: Apple’s iMessage messaging service, Microsoft’s Bing online search engine, Edge Web browser and Microsoft Advertising online advertising service”, indicates the institution in a press release.

Today’s decision follows requests made by technology companies Apple and Microsoft themselves, that such services should not be subject to the new European rules for digital markets as they are within the thresholds, which in turn gave rise to four investigations.

“The decisions conclude the Commission’s investigations initiated following the notification by Apple and Microsoft, in July 2023, of essential platform services that met the quantitative thresholds. Among these notified services were also the four services covered by the decisions of today”, explains Brussels.

This confirmation of the companies’ requests comes after an “in-depth analysis”, with an “exhaustive assessment of all arguments, taking into account the contributions of relevant interested parties, and after hearing the Digital Markets Advisory Committee”.

Even so, the European Commission guarantees that it “will continue to monitor market developments with regard to these services, should substantial changes arise”.

This decision does not affect Apple and Microsoft’s designation as ‘gatekeepers’ with respect to their other core services.

Last September, the European Commission designated Google, Microsoft and Apple and three other technology companies as content intermediaries, which are large technology companies that work by connecting companies and users, forcing them to comply with new obligations in the EU.

In total, 22 essential platform services provided by these access controllers were designated, including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger, YouTube and Google tools.

This designation of content intermediaries includes digital platforms with an annual turnover in the EU or a market value of at least 7.5 billion euros, which operate in at least three Member States and have more than 45 million monthly active users.

In force since November 2022, the Digital Markets Law stipulates rules on what technology companies with ‘gatekeeper’ status are or are not allowed to do in the EU, a kind of blacklist with rules for these large platforms.

The new Digital Markets Law therefore applies to ‘gatekeepers’, companies that sometimes create barriers between companies and consumers and control entire ecosystems, made up of different platform services, such as online marketplaces, operating systems, ‘cloud’ services or ‘online’ search engines.

It is expected that, if a content intermediary (‘gatekeeper’) violates the rules established by the regulation, it may be subject to a fine of up to 10% of its total turnover worldwide, a percentage that rises to 20% in the case of a repeat offense. .


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