After Apple, EU goes after Microsoft and


After Apple was required to make big changes in Europe to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), Microsoft and have also been ruled to be subject to the antitrust law …

Apple changes to comply with the DMA

The DMA uses market size to determine whether a company is big enough within any given field to be labelled as a ‘gatekeeper.’ This means that it has sufficient market dominance to be able to place obstacles in the way of potential competitors.

Apple was designated a gatekeeper in respect of the App Store and its Safari web browser. The iPhone maker has announced new policies in respect of both issues, though as yet has not satisfied regulators that it is in compliance.

Microsoft also subject to DMA, over Teams

Microsoft – which faced landmark antitrust charges in the US back in 2001 – has now also been found to be subject to the DMA in respect of its Teams workplace chat and videoconferencing app.

Microsoft Team was launched by the company back in 2016 as a direct competitor to Slack, after the tech giant decided against buying the chat company. It later decided that Teams would replace both Microsoft Classroom and Skype for Business.

The reason the company faces an antitrust challenge now is that it bundled Teams within Microsoft 365, meaning its customers were less likely to use competitive products like Slack. This mirrors the original US case against it, for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

Microsoft responded by offering to unbundle Teams, but it was unclear whether this would be enough to satisfy regulators.

The Financial Times says that the EU has now concluded its investigation, and is about to formally announces antitrust charges against the company, despite the unbundling plan.

According to three people with knowledge of the move, the European Commission is pressing ahead with a formal charge […]

People familiar with their thinking said EU officials were still concerned that the company did not go far enough to facilitate fairness in the market. Rivals are concerned that Microsoft will make Teams run more compatibly than rival apps with its own software. Another concern is the lack of data portability, which makes it difficult for existing Teams users to switch to alternatives.

An announcement is expected within the next few weeks, though the report said that Microsoft may make further offers designed to head off charges. Neither Microsoft nor the EU was willing to comment.

Bloomberg reports that travel booking site has also been designated a gatekeeper, and subject to the DMA. It has been accused of presenting consumers with biased hotel listings, in which it favors deals which generate the highest commissions for the company, rather than those which offer the best deals to travellers.

X safe for now

The social network formerly known as Twitter had also faced an investigation into whether its ad sales business operated in an anti-competitive way, but the EU found that this was not the case.

However, the regulator is still deciding whether the rest of X’s services could be subject to the DMA.

Photo by Workperch on Unsplash

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