U.K. Passes Equivalent to E.U. Law Setting Limits On Apple, Google, and Meta

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Key Takeaways

  • The U.K. has passed a bill equivalent to the E.U.'s Digital Markets Act.
  • The Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill would require fairness, openness, and other conditions for large companies.
  • The measure could make Apple, Google, Meta and others change their policies.

The U.K. Parliament has passed the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Act (DMCC), a bill that could regulate big tech companies much like the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The DMCC would let a section of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) label some companies as having Strategic Market Status if they either have “entrenched market power” and a “position of strategic significance.”

If a company receives that status, it will have to follow a CMA code of conduct demanding fairness, openness, transparency, and trust. Companies that violate the code could be fined up to 10% of their global revenue, and regulators won’t have to go through courts to seek a remedy.

The bill was rushed through ahead of Parliament dissolving on May 30th ahead of a general election on July 4th. It will become law once it gets Royal Assent.

The DMCC doesn’t have specific requirements at this stage. However, Engadget noted the bill could effectively extend the DMA’s effects to the U.K. and reshape how large tech firms behave. Apple, for instance, already has to allow third-party iPhone app stores and downloading from the web. Google and Meta might have to improve their own interoperability and compensate news outlets for featuring their work.

Companies are likely to limit any necessary changes to U.K. operations. Don’t expect Apple to loosen the App Store in the U.S. This ramps up pressure on Big Tech, though, and may serve as an inspiration for North American politicians eager to prevent or minimize antitrust abuses.