EU lawmakers agree on big tech rules

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European Union lawmakers have reached a deal on how to tackle big tech companies. According to a report by the Financial Times, the move is meant to limit anti-competitive practices in the digital economy.

The European parliament’s main political parties agreed to a deal that would apply to companies with a market cap of at least $91 billion (80 billion euros) and offering at least one internet service (such as online search).

The financial times cited people with direct knowledge of the discussions. The rules will encompass more companies than previously thought in the planned Digital Markets Act (DMA).

A somewhat wide umbrella

The EU, according to the Financial Times report, will implement the Act in 2022. The DMA was proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in 2020 to curb the powers of big tech companies, using a list of things they can and can’t do.

The act also aims to help national competition authorities look into tech companies’ acquisitions of smaller rivals who may be forced into selling cheaply due to the uneven playing field.

Companies affected include Alphabet’s Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. China’s Alibaba and Netherlands’ Booking fall into this category.

The US defends its incorrigible big tech giants

The US government recently raised concerns (possibly at the behest of its big tech companies) that the new rules would come at the expense of US companies.

Last week, the EU representatives agreed that the European Commission would become the sole enforcer of the new tech rules.

EU ministers will formally ratify the agreement on Nov 25 as part of the bloc’s united front to negotiate with EU lawmakers and the Commission on the draft rules so they can be passed into law.