As expected, the European Commission has designated “gatekeepers” whose services will be required to be profoundly modified in Europe from 2024. From the App Store to YouTube via TikTok or Windows, the changes will be very deep.
The announcement was eagerly awaited as it will create a significant change for all our everyday devices. This Wednesday, September 6, the European Commission officially unveiled the first list of “ access controllers », these tech giants who will have to open their software and services to competition from 2024 thanks to the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
What services are affected?
For the moment, the European Commission has listed 22 services developed by Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, ByteDance (TikTok), Meta and Microsoft.
- Social networks: TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.
- Online messaging: WhatsApp, Messenger.
- Video sharing: YouTube.
- Search engine: Google.
- Operating System: Google Android, Apple iOS, Windows PC OS
- Browser: Google Chrome, Apple Safari
- Advertising: Amazon, Google, Meta
- Intermediation: Google Maps, Google Play, Google Shopping, Amazon Marketplace, Apple App Store, Meta Marketplace
Other services could join this list in the long term. The Commission indicates that it has opened four investigations concerning Microsoft Bing, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Advertising and Apple iMessages. They will have to determine whether these services meet the criteria to be “ access controllers “.
Furthermore, certain services that meet the criteria have not been included in the list: Google Gmail, Microsoft Outlook.com and Samsung Internet Browser. The companies concerned managed to convince the Commission not to include them. As a result, none of Samsung’s services are included in the list.
Significant daily changes
By March 2024, the services designated in this first list will have to comply to follow the new European legislation. Services added following the four surveys will have until August 2024.
Among the important changes, several can be highlighted:
- Android, iOS and Windows will need to allow you to uninstall pre-installed apps from Apple, Google and Microsoft;
- Apple will have to authorize the installation of alternative App Stores on iPhone;
- Apple will have to authorize alternatives to Apple Pay on iPhone;
- Messenger and WhatsApp will need to allow you to exchange messages with other messaging services;
- Apple and Google will have to authorize applications to be able to offer their subscription plans outside the App Store or the Play Store;
- Canceling a subscription should be as simple as subscribing.
As we can see, it is in particular on the iPhone that the most significant changes will be expected. Apple will have to open its smartphone to competition. It will be interesting to note whether banks continue to offer Apple Pay or switch to their own contactless payment methods, as they do on Android.
These are very concrete changes that Meta, Microsoft, Apple or Google will have to make to their services to make them more practical for the consumer, and more open to their competitors.
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