EU targets Big Tech again by naming Apple, Meta, and Amazon as ‘gatekeepers’

Sep 6, 2023, 11:46am EDT
European Union flags
REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
J.D. Capelouto/

The European Union on Wednesday named the six tech “gatekeepers” and the 22 services they offer that are subject to new rules under the Digital Markets Act.

Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft will be governed by regulation that’s aimed at increasing competition and keeping companies from abusing their market power. But the tug-of-war between EU regulators and Big Tech is far from over.

Web browsers, app stores, and social media networks were all included on the list of services. The announcement led to pushback from some of the tech giants, including TikTok and Apple, which said that it had privacy and data concerns about some of the new rules.1 It was perhaps a preview of the court challenges that the European Commission is bracing for, before the rules take effect in the spring.2

What would happen if regulators get their way? iPhone users, for example, would be able to download apps from rival app stores; Meta couldn't combine user data across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp without user consent, Bloomberg explained.3 And Windows and Mac users would be able to get rid of pre-installed apps and change other system defaults.4

A notable omission from the EU's list of gatekeeper firms? Any European company. "Well, I guess that explains why it feels like the [EU] is at war with US Tech," American Enterprise Institute fellow Klon Kitchen said.5 Tech analyst Martijn Rasser said it was a sad reflection on Europe's tech ecosystem, and the regulations provide "no incentive for any EU company to aspire to be a real competitor to these six."6 (X, Elon Musk's U.S.-based tech company that runs the platform formerly known as Twitter, likely isn't big enough to be listed as a "gatekeeper."7 )