In a new podcast series, Telekom takes a look at European digital policy. Once a quarter, the Telekom Netz Podcast will publish a Brussels edition. After all, EU regulation has a major impact on German digital policy and all of us as consumers.
In their first edition, hosts Anja Ingenrieth and Sandra Rohrbach talk to European Parliament member Andreas Schwab about an EU law that introduces new rules for large digital platforms, the so-called "Digital Markets Act" (DMA) . This is intended to usher in a new era of tech regulation in Europe.
DMA limits power of tech companies
The European Union has agreed on new rules for fair competition in digital markets in record time. The "Digital Markets Act" is intended to limit the power of large digital platforms such as Google, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. They are so dominant in some market segments that there is hardly any competition left. So far, traditional competition law has not been able to prevent this - among other things because it can only intervene retrospectively when market abuse has taken place, and proceedings then often drag on for years.
Digital Markets Act ensures more competition
The Digital Markets Act is now intended to prevent the dominance of individual players right from the start. In our Brussels podcast, the main negotiator for the European Parliament, Dr. Andreas Schwab, speaks of a "new era" of tech regulation that puts an end to "Wild West" conditions in digital markets.
"We can no longer allow big tech companies to be so powerful that they can eliminate competition," says Schwab, who was rapporteur for the Digital Markets Act in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.
More consumer choice
The Digital Markets Act contains 20 obligations that deeply interfere with the business models of so-called gatekeepers. "Users get more choices. And they can more easily switch providers and take their data with them - for example, with social media platforms or cloud services," Schwab says. In addition, consumers must be able to easily delete preinstalled apps and software on their devices. Gatekeepers are no longer allowed to combine data from different services, such as Whatsapp and Facebook, and use it for profiling without explicit consent.
Google and Co. are also no longer allowed to offer certain services bundled as a package or give preference to their own services in searches or comparisons.
EU Commission ensures compliance with new rules
The new rules are to be finally adopted before the summer break and, according to Schwab's estimate, "will apply at the beginning of 2024." The EU Commission is to oversee that the rules are adhered to. Schwab is counting on the EU executive to use its strong position to resolutely enforce the new laws and bans - despite foreseeable lawsuits. Schwab believes it is imperative that the supremacy of digital platforms be addressed at the European level - rather than nationally. "Consumers must get the same services and have the same rights across Europe. The DMA ensures that."
The MEP firmly believes that the EU will set global standards with its platform rules - similar to what has already happened with data protection. The Americans, for example, wanted to follow similar paths, Schwab says. "The DMA has notable supporters in America, such as the chair of the Federal Trade Commission Lina Khan," Schwab says. He doesn't expect much progress in Congress, where several bills on platform regulation are pending, before the midterm elections in the fall. But, "Europe and the U.S. share the belief that oligopolies and monopolies cannot be tolerated and come at the expense of innovation and consumers."