EU Commences Investigation into Meta, Apple, and Alphabet under Sweeping New Tech Law


In a significant move highlighting the European Union’s commitment to regulating large tech firms, an inquiry has been launched into industry giants Apple, Alphabet, and Meta. This investigation marks a pivotal moment under the newly enacted Digital Markets Act (DMA), signifying the EU’s proactive stance in ensuring fair competition and user rights within the digital sphere.

Image Credits: cnbc | Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu | Getty Images

The Impetus Behind the Investigation

The Digital Markets Act, a pioneering legislative framework, aims to address concerns surrounding the dominance and practices of major tech corporations. It sets forth stringent regulations to curb anti-competitive behaviors and promote a level playing field for all stakeholders in the digital market landscape.

Addressing Anti-Steering Rules and Preferential Treatment

One of the primary focal points of the investigation is the scrutiny of anti-steering rules employed by Apple and Alphabet. These rules, which restrict businesses from directing users to alternative purchasing channels outside of official app stores, have raised concerns regarding fair competition and consumer choice.

Apple, in particular, has faced criticism for its stringent enforcement of these rules, resulting in hefty fines and allegations of stifling competition. Recent actions by regulatory bodies highlight the growing imperative to ensure transparency and accessibility within app ecosystems.

Examining Meta’s Business Practices

Meta, formerly Facebook, is also under the regulatory spotlight for its business practices, notably its “pay or consent” model and ad-free subscription service. The investigation seeks to ascertain whether Meta’s policies comply with the mandates outlined in the Digital Markets Act, particularly concerning user consent and competition within the digital advertising landscape.

Key Areas of Investigation

Apple’s Compliance with DMA Obligations

The inquiry into Apple’s operations extends beyond anti-steering rules to encompass broader aspects of DMA compliance. Of particular interest are Apple’s adherence to obligations regarding app uninstallation procedures and customization of default settings on iOS devices. These elements are integral to fostering a competitive environment that prioritizes user choice and innovation.

Google’s Search Result Displays

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., faces scrutiny over its search result displays and potential biases favoring its own services over competitors’. The investigation aims to assess the impact of Google’s search algorithms on market dynamics and consumer welfare, with a focus on promoting fair competition and diversity within online search ecosystems.

Meta’s Ad-Free Subscription Model

Meta’s introduction of an ad-free subscription model has sparked debate over its implications for competition and user privacy. Regulatory authorities are evaluating the legality of Meta’s “pay or consent” approach and its compatibility with the principles outlined in the Digital Markets Act. The outcome of this investigation could have far-reaching implications for the future of online advertising and platform governance.

Regulatory Oversight and Enforcement Mechanisms

Consequences of Non-Compliance

The European Commission has underscored the seriousness of non-compliance with DMA regulations, warning of potential fines amounting to up to 10% of the companies’ total worldwide turnover. Such penalties serve as a deterrent against anti-competitive practices and reinforce the EU’s commitment to upholding the principles of fair competition and market integrity.

Timeline for Resolution

The Commission aims to conclude its investigations within a 12-month timeframe, reflecting the urgency and significance of the issues at hand. Timely resolution of these inquiries is essential to maintaining market stability and fostering trust among consumers and industry stakeholders alike.


The initiation of investigations into Apple, Alphabet, and Meta under the Digital Markets Act marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate surrounding tech regulation and corporate accountability. By addressing concerns related to anti-competitive behavior and market dominance, the EU reaffirms its commitment to fostering a digital ecosystem that prioritizes innovation, fairness, and consumer welfare.

As these inquiries progress, stakeholders across the tech industry will closely monitor developments, mindful of the broader implications for market dynamics and regulatory oversight. Ultimately, the outcomes of these investigations will shape the future landscape of digital governance and set precedent for regulatory actions on a global scale.

In conclusion, the EU’s proactive approach to tech regulation underscores the imperative of balancing innovation with accountability, ensuring that digital markets remain open, competitive, and conducive to sustainable growth.

  1. Meta: Facebook, Metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus, VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), Meta Platforms Inc., Horizon Workrooms, Social Media, Digital Identity.
  2. Apple: iPhone, iPad, Mac, iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, AirPods, App Store, Apple TV, Apple Music, Siri, Privacy, Innovation, Cupertino, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook.
  3. Alphabet: Google, Search Engine, Android, YouTube, Waymo, Alphabet Inc., Sundar Pichai, Alphabet subsidiaries (e.g., Google, DeepMind, Verily), Alphabet projects (e.g., Project Loon, Project Wing), Innovation, Technology, Silicon Valley.

Data Source : cnbc

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