The European Commission has launched investigations against tech giants under its Digital Markets Act. 

The Commission has launched a series of non-compliance investigations targeting leading technology firms Alphabet, Apple, and Meta under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

The probes are centred on specific business practices of the big tech companies, including Alphabet's steering rules in Google Play, self-preferencing in Google Search, Apple's steering rules in the App Store, choice screen for Safari, 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,” Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said this week. 

Further investigations will assess Apple's compliance regarding user choice obligations and scrutinise Meta's approach to user consent under its new model. 

The Commission aims to ensure that third-party services featured on Google's search results page receive fair and non-discriminatory treatment compared to Alphabet's own services.

Adding to the scrutiny, the Commission is investigating Amazon's ranking practices on its marketplace and Apple's new fee structure for alternative app stores, raising questions about the potential preferencing of their own products and services over those of competitors.

In an unprecedented move, the Commission has also issued retention orders to Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, demanding the preservation of documents which could be pivotal in assessing their compliance with DMA obligations.

The Digital Markets Act became applicable on 7 March. 

“While we have observed market changes and engaged with gatekeepers to adapt, it's clear that the solutions by Alphabet, Apple, and Meta may not respect their obligations for a fairer and more open digital space for European citizens and businesses. Heavy fines could ensue if investigations confirm non-compliance,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market.

The Commission is aiming to conclude proceedings within 12 months.