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EU slaps Microsoft and others with a gatekeeper designation, opens 22 services to regulation

The Microsoft logo in front of the EU flag

The European Commission has designated six major tech companies (Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft) as gatekeepers under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA). This is the first time companies have been labeled as gatekeepers since the legislation was enacted earlier this year.

The commission identified 22 core platform services provided by these gatekeepers that will now be subject to increased regulation. These services include Windows, LinkedIn, Bing Ads, Google Search, and the App Store.

Companies designated as gatekeepers have six months to comply with obligations under the DMA intended to limit anti-competitive behavior and promote fair digital markets. Under the DMA, designated gatekeepers must open up with rivals, providing third parties access to key platform services like app stores, operating systems, and cloud infrastructure.

EU gatekeepers DMA

Gatekeepers will also be banned from using data from one service to favor another service, like using data from a social media platform to benefit an e-commerce marketplace owned by the same company.

Under the DMA, the European Commission can designate digital platforms as 'gatekeepers' if they provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers in relation to core platform services.

Today's designation decisions follow a 45-day review process conducted by the commission after the notification by Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, Microsoft and Samsung of their potential status as gatekeepers.

The commission also opened separate investigations into whether certain services provided by Microsoft and Apple - including Bing, Edge, Bing Ads, and iMessage - should be excluded from gatekeeper designation based on the companies' arguments. Yesterday we reported that Microsoft and Apple lobbied the EU to prevent the gatekeeper list.

Failure to adhere to the DMA could result in fines of up to 10% of a company's worldwide annual turnover and up to 20% for repeat offenses. The commission can also impose structural remedies forcing the sale of business units or acquisitions.

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