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Digital Markets Act (DMA)
Press release25 March 2024Directorate-General for Competition, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology3 min read

Commission opens non-compliance investigations against Alphabet, Apple and Meta under the Digital Markets Act

evocation of compliance
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Today, the European Commission opened proceedings under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) against Alphabet, Apple and Meta, because of concerns that the measures these gatekeepers put in place fall short of effective compliance of their obligations under the DMA.

Regarding Apple and Alphabet, the Commission opened proceedings to assess whether the measures they implemented in relation to their obligations pertaining to app stores are in breach of the DMA, which requires gatekeepers to allow app developers to “steer” consumers to offers outside the gatekeepers’ app stores, free of charge.

The Commission also opened proceedings against Alphabet because of concerns that it is preferencing its own vertical search services (such as Google Shopping and Google Hotels) over similar rival services in breach of the DMA, and against Apple, because of concerns that Apple’s design of the web browser choice screen may be preventing users from truly exercising their choice of services, in breach of their DMA obligations.

Regarding Meta, the Commission opened proceedings to investigate whether the recently introduced “pay or consent” model for users in the EU complies with the DMA, which requires gatekeepers to obtain consent from users when they intend to combine or cross-use their personal data.

The Commission intends to conclude these proceedings within 12 months. If warranted, the Commission will inform the concerned gatekeepers of its preliminary findings and explain the measures it is considering taking or that the gatekeeper should take in order to effectively address the Commission's concerns.

The Commission is additionally taking other investigatory steps to gather facts and information to clarify whether Amazon’s treatment of its own brand products on the Amazon Store, and Apple’s new fee structure and other terms and conditions for alternative app stores and distribution of apps from the web (sideloading), are DMA compliant.

Today, the Commission also adopted orders addressed to Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, requiring them to retain documents which might be used to assess their compliance with the DMA obligations.

It should be noted that, in the case the Commission finds an infringement of the DMA, it can impose fines of up to 10% of the company’s total worldwide turnover, or up to 20% in case of repeated infringement. In case of systematic infringements, the Commission may also adopt additional remedies such as obliging a gatekeeper to sell a business or parts of it.


Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager in charge of competition policy said:

“Today, the Commission opens five non-compliance investigations under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). They concern Alphabet’s rules on steering in Google Play and self-preferencing in Google Search, Apple’s rules on steering in the App Store and on choosing browsers and changing defaults, and Meta’s ‘pay or consent model’. We suspect that the suggested solutions put forward by the three companies do not fully comply with the DMA. We will now investigate the companies’ compliance with the DMA, to ensure open and contestable digital markets in Europe.”

Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said:

“The Digital Markets Act became applicable on 7 March. We have been in discussions with gatekeepers for months to help them adapt, and we can already see changes happening on the market. But 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. Should our investigation conclude that there is lack of full compliance with the DMA, gatekeepers could face heavy fines.”

Read the full press release

See also the Remarks by Executive-Vice President Vestager and Commissioner Breton on the opening of non-compliance investigations under the Digital Markets Act