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Apple, Alphabet, and Meta investigated by EU under new tech law

Apple Store in Germany, Frankfurt

The European Union is probing Apple, Alphabet, and Meta for potential breaches under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

The new tech law aims to regulate the power of big tech firms,

It focuses on practices that might restrict competition and consumer choice.

The European Commission's investigation targets specific practices by these companies.

It includes Alphabet's alleged prioritization of its Google Play and Google Search services, Apple's app store policies and browser choice mechanisms, and Meta's advertising and data collection models. 

The EU looks into whether such practices comply with the DMA's requirements to ensure fair competition and protect consumers' rights in the digital market.

The inquiry zeroes in on "anti-steering" rules for Alphabet and Apple.

It scrutinizes whether these companies unfairly restrict businesses from directing users to cheaper product options outside their app stores. 

The commission will examine Apple's compliance with DMA obligations related to app uninstallation and default setting changes on iOS devices amid concerns that Apple's actions might limit users' service choices.

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The investigation also extends to Meta's "pay or consent" model.

It questions whether its approach to offering ad-free subscriptions or requiring consent for ad-supported services complies with the DMA. 

This model's binary nature—forcing users to choose between payment or consent—could potentially violate the DMA by not providing a genuine choice to users, thus enabling undue data collection.

The European Commission has committed to concluding these probes within 12 months.

The investigations have the potential for imposing fines of up to 20 percent of a company's total worldwide turnover for repeated infractions. 

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