EU labels six major tech groups as "gatekeepers" under new competition rules

September 6, 2023 7:53 AM EDT -- The European Union has listed six tech giants, including Amazon (NASDAQ:A MZN), Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and Meta (NASDAQ: META), as so-called "gatekeepers" that must adhere to the bloc's strict digital regulations.

In a statement, the EU Commission said that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Tiktok-owner ByteDance, and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) have also received the new designation, giving them six months to comply with its Digital Markets Act (DMA). If they do not make the necessary changes in time, the firms could face fines of up to 10% of their total worldwide turnover. The figure could rise to 20% "in case of repeated infringement," the EU said.

Under the legislation, the EU retains the power to label organizations as "gatekeepers." The term refers to large platforms that the EU believes are limiting access to key services like messaging, advertising, and online searches.

A total of 22 of these services were named in the EU's announcement on Wednesday. Among them were Google's eponymous search engine and Chrome browser, Meta's WhatsApp messaging platform, and Microsoft's LinkedIn networking website. Google's Gmail and Microsoft's rival web mail service made up some of the notable absentees from the list.

Elsewhere, the Commission also opened four market investigations to decide if Microsoft's Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising services do not qualify as gateways. Apple's iMessage platform faces a similar probe as well.

Google responded to the announcement in a blog post, saying it will continue to work closely with EU Commission and "other stakeholders" as it "review[s] our designation decision and assess[es] its implications."

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