Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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New EU tech rules may be harsher for US tech companies

The new EU tech rules aimed at checking the interference from foreign technology companies are likely to be aimed at reining in the power of Facebook Inc, Alphabet unit Google, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc.

The new EU tech rules aimed at checking the interference from foreign companies are likely to be aimed at reining in the power of Facebook Inc, Alphabet unit Google, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc.

According to the EU lawmakers, the new tech rules should only target these US tech giants and not the homegrown tech companies. The move assumes significance as the already controversial tech bill in the EU, over which deliberations are still on, is signalling a tougher stance than EU antitrust regulators.

The new law proposed by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager last year, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) could force US tech giants to change their lucrative business models and ensure a level playing field for smaller rivals.

The DMA defines online gatekeepers as companies with more than 6.5 billion euros ($8 billion) in annual European turnover in the last three years or 65 billion euros in market value in the last financial year, and which provide a core platform service in at least three EU countries.

Such criteria could catch big EU and Asian tech companies in addition to the US competitors. That revenue threshold should be ratcheted up to 10 billion euros and the market value to at least 100 billion, European Parliament lawmaker Andreas Schwab, which is leading the file for the EU body, said in a report.

“The DMA should be clearly targeted to those platforms that play an unquestionable role as gatekeepers due to their size and their impact on the internal market,” he wrote in his report.

“To this end, it is appropriate to increase the quantitative thresholds and to add … that they are providers of not only one but, at least, two core platform services,” Schwab said.

The EU competition enforcer should be able to designate in a month which gatekeepers should be subject to the rules instead of its proposed three-month period, he said.

Schwab also proposed beefing up a list of don’ts set out by the Commission, among them a halt to tech giants favouring their own services on their platforms or harvesting data from their platforms to compete with their business users.

Parliament, which also has two other committees looking into the draft rules, aims to come up with a common position by the end of this year and start negotiations with EU countries next year.

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