In July, EU lawmakers adopted the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), a revolutionary regulation of Big Tech. This sweeping legislation has not gotten nearly as much attention in the US as it deserves. The Act seeks to address how some Big Tech companies have—it is claimed—exploited their size and entrenched position to obtain undue control over other companies and consumers. By establishing a category of “gatekeepers,” defined by size and/or impact (e.g. Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Twitter, Microsoft), the regulatory playing field has completely changed.
These “gatekeepers” will now be subject to new regulations requiring them to open their services to competitors, share data with other core platforms, limit their ability to favor their own products, and provide interoperability—among many other requirements. A “gatekeeper” operating online search engines could be required to disclose, among other things, how they rank answers to search queries, information that is presumably regarded as proprietary. The exchange and disclosure of information around advertising will also completely change. What’s more, companies that are determined to be “emerging gatekeepers” could also be subject to the same regulations put upon established “gatekeepers.” The DMA also provides fines and penalties if the obligations of gatekeepers are not met and establishes the legal basis for private rights of action.
The legal repercussions of the DMA are enormous and have scarcely begun to be weighed. One major question posed by the DMA is whether it will set a new global standard for competition policy in digital markets. In Quinn Emanuel’s latest client note, we dive into the ramifications of a potentially epoch-defining legislation.