Apple and Meta Set to Face EU Charges Under Landmark Tech Rules

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Apple (AAPL.O) and Meta Platforms (META.O) are expected to be charged for failing to comply with the European Union’s landmark rules aimed at curbing their market power. This action is anticipated to occur before the summer, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Background on the Digital Markets Act

The European Commission initiated investigations into Apple, Meta, and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google in March under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA is designed to create a fairer competitive environment by requiring Big Tech companies to allow smaller rivals to compete and to facilitate easier movement between competing online services such as social media platforms, internet browsers, and app stores.

Priority Cases and Preliminary Findings

Apple and Meta have been identified as priority cases in these investigations. EU regulators are expected to issue preliminary findings, akin to antitrust charges, before the summer break in August. Apple is anticipated to be the first to be charged, followed by Meta.

Company Responses and Potential Remedies

The European Commission and Meta have declined to comment on the impending charges. Apple referred to a previous statement from March, expressing confidence in its compliance with the DMA and its ongoing constructive engagement with the Commission.

Companies have the opportunity to propose remedies to address the concerns outlined in the preliminary findings. The final decision is expected before EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s term ends in November. Penalties for breaches of the DMA could include fines of up to 10% of a company’s global annual turnover.

Specific Investigations

  • Apple: The investigation targets Apple’s steering rules, which are said to restrict app developers from informing users about offers outside the App Store free of charge. Additionally, new fees imposed on app developers are under scrutiny. A second investigation into Apple’s choice screen for its Safari web browser is expected to take more time.
  • Meta: The preliminary findings for Meta focus on its “pay or consent” model, where users can pay a subscription fee for an ad-free experience on Facebook and Instagram.

The Financial Times first reported that Apple would face EU charges. Stay tuned for further updates as this story develops.

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