EU launches competition probe into Apple, Google and Meta

The European Union is to examine three of the biggest tech firms over possible breaches of competition rules.

The non-compliance proceedings involve Apple, Google owner Alphabet, and Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.

Regulators will look at whether their business practices effectively lock users into certain products or services, in breach of the Digital Markets Act.

Included in the scope of the investigation will be whether Apple and Alphabet are constraining app developers’ ability to freely communicate with users and make contracts with them; whether Meta’s ‘pay or consent’ model unfairly asks people to pay to avoid their data being used for adverts; and whether Google preferences the company’s own services in search results.

“The Digital Markets Act became applicable on 7 March,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the EU’s Internal Market. “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.”

If the companies are found to have broken the rules, they could face significant fines of up to 10% of their annual worldwide turnover.