The European Commission is reportedly preparing to file charges against tech giants Apple and Meta for alleged violations of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA, which came into effect in March this year, aims to curb anti-competitive practices by large digital platforms, known as “gatekeepers.”

Apple is accused of imposing “steering” rules that restrict third-party developers from directing users to alternative purchasing options outside of the App Store. This, according to the commission, stifles competition and violates the DMA, which mandates that gatekeepers allow users to easily access and use services from competing platforms.

Meta, on the other hand, could face charges for its new “pay or consent model,” which offers ad-free subscriptions as an alternative to data collection on Facebook and Instagram. The company is accused of potentially violating data privacy regulations under the DMA with this model, as it allegedly fails to provide a “real alternative” for users who do not want their personal data collected.

If the charges are filed and upheld, Apple and Meta could face significant fines of up to 10% of their global turnover. In Apple’s case, this could mean a fine of over $30 billion. The charges could also lead to other remedies, such as requiring the companies to make changes to their business practices.

This is not the first time Apple has faced scrutiny from the European Commission. In March, the commission opened an investigation into Apple’s App Store practices. The company was also fined $2 billion in 2023 for applying its steering rules to music apps, specifically Spotify.

The European Commission’s actions against Apple and Meta underscore the growing regulatory pressure on Big Tech companies. As the DMA is a relatively new regulation, these cases will likely set important precedents for how the law will be enforced in the future.

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