EU to Send Probes into Big Tech; Mission Should Take One Year

EU Probes Apple, Meta and Alphabet Under Landmark New Law
The probes fall under the Digital Markets Act, which is designed to tackle the dominance of so-called digital “gatekeepers”...

Yeah, as expected:

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, said that despite the measures taken by the tech companies to adapt to the DMA, “we are not convinced that the solutions by Alphabet, Apple and Meta respect their obligations for a fairer and more open digital space for European citizens and businesses”.

Andreas Schwab, the MEP who led the discussions on the DMA, said: “It’s quite clear where we stand now: overall, different efforts and a few changes were made but they are not up to the challenge.”

Perhaps the only (mild) surprise is around the timing of all of this:

Daniel Friedlaender, senior vice-president and head of CCIA Europe, a tech industry lobbying group, said: “The timing of these announcements, while the DMA compliance workshops are still ongoing, makes it look like the Commission could be jumping the gun. Possible outcomes aside, this move risks confirming industry fears that the DMA compliance process might end up being politicised.”

Certainly it's clear that these companies, notably Apple, are still tweaking things on the fly to try to be more fully in compliance with what the EU is looking for with the DMA. And yes, the compliance workshops are a part of that, and ongoing. Then again, this is going to be a long process. How long?

Brussels hopes to finalise its probes in one year. The timeline is faster than the many years it has historically taken to deal with antitrust investigations.

A year! Many space probes return data faster than the EU's regulatory probes do. But seriously, a lot can and will change in a year. But that's perhaps especially true in this next year since it will feature the most number of voters heading to the polls – ever. That includes the governments of the US and UK and also 62 other countries (well, 61 since Russia already "voted", I guess). Most importantly here, the EU itself is holding parliamentary elections in June. Who knows what things will look like, politically, in the Spring of 2025 and if that will alter any of the above work and probes.

“Had we been able to resolve that with a mere discussion, they would have been solved by now." – Margrethe Vestager, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age

(Yes, that's seriously her official title.)