The European Union has confirmed the first six tech “gatekeepers” that will under the bloc’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The names of these companies should be pretty familiar: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft. The European Commission (EC), which is the EU’s executive branch, that after assessing whether certain companies met thresholds related to revenue, valuation and user numbers, Samsung hasn’t been designated as a gatekeeper as yet.

The EC stipulates that digital platforms can be designated as gatekeepers “if they provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers in relation to core platform services.” The gatekeepers now have until March 2024 to make sure their applicable services comply with the DMA regulations. Between the six companies, the EC has designated 22 core platform services that the law applies to:

  • Alphabet: Google ads, Google Search, Android, YouTube, Chrome, Google Maps, Google Play and Google Shopping

  • Amazon: Amazon Marketplace and Amazon ads

  • Apple: iOS, App Store and Safari

  • ByteDance: TikTok

  • Meta: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Meta Marketplace and Meta ads

  • Microsoft: LinkedIn and Windows

The DMA that gatekeepers can’t favor their own services over rivals’ offerings and can’t keep users locked into their own ecosystems. They have to let third-party entities interoperate with their services in certain situations too.

Microsoft and Apple have argued that, despite meeting the thresholds the EC laid out, Bing, Edge, Microsoft Advertising and iMessage don’t qualify as gateways and shouldn’t have to comply with the DMA. The EC has opened a market investigation in each case to review the companies’ claims. 

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