EU Antitrust Chief Warns Tech Giants Over Fees Impacting DMA Compliance

21st March, 2024
EU Antitrust Chief Warns Tech Giants Over Fees Impacting DMA Compliance

In a recent development, Margrethe Vestager, the EU antitrust chief, issued warnings to major tech players like Apple and Meta Platforms regarding their imposition of new fees on services. She expressed concerns that these fees could obstruct users from fully benefiting from the Digital Markets Act (DMA), designed to enhance consumer choices.

Apple’s announcement of changes in January aimed at complying with EU tech regulations included a notable fee structure adjustment. This structure introduces a core technology fee of 50 euro cents per user account annually, even for major app developers not utilizing Apple’s payment services. The move has drawn criticism from rivals, notably Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite.

Vestager underscored her interest in these new fees, particularly whether they might deter users from embracing the DMA’s advantages. She emphasized the necessity of investigating such potential hindrances.

Additionally, Vestager expressed reservations regarding Meta’s fee adjustments. Despite Meta’s offer to reduce the monthly subscription fee for Facebook and Instagram, concerns lingered, with privacy activist Max Schrems highlighting broader monetization strategies beyond fee reduction.

Furthermore, Vestager cautioned against actions by companies that may discourage users from switching to competitors by disparaging them, hinting at possible investigations into such behaviors. Notably, Apple’s claims regarding security risks associated with certain changes were deemed unrelated to DMA compliance.

Vestager stressed the importance of feedback from developers in determining potential investigations into companies regulated by the DMA, indicating a substantial volume of input received thus far.

Overall, Vestager’s warnings underscore the need for tech giants to align their practices with DMA objectives, prioritize user benefits, and engage constructively with regulatory authorities and industry stakeholders.