Recently, Alphabet-owned search engine giant Google urged Europe’s second-highest court to dismiss the $1.6 billion antitrust fine imposed back in 2019.
This was one of three similar cases that saw the EU impose a total of €8.25 billion in fines, with Google accused of hindering rivals in the field on online search advertising.
So, the battle between the EU and big tech firms continues to rage, but what has been demanded by the single bloc and will the imposition of new laws actually help smaller businesses?
What’s being demanded by the EU?
Following the imposition of these fines and further investigation, European lawmakers have recently agreed on new rules that are aimed at curbing the dominance of Google and similar big tech giants like Apple.
Under the so-called “Digital Markets Act” (DMA), brands like Google will be compelled to open up their services and platforms to smaller businesses, with a view to creating much fairer and more transparent markets going forward.
The argument here is simple; large “gatekeeper” platforms have historically prevented companies and their customers from accessing competitive digital markets, minimising direct competition and arguably sustaining unfair levels of commercial dominance.
Will the DMA actively help small and medium-sized businesses?
This measure represents the biggest antitrust regulation yet, but the question that remains is will it help small businesses to prosper going forward?
The answer can be found in the form of various historical examples. Take the controversial social media platform ‘Parler’, for example, which was popular among Donald Trump supporters and prohibited from Amazon’s web hosting service in January 2021.
At the same time, both Google and Apple removed the platform from their app stores, and despite citing the violent and bigoted nature of content on the site, this move was seen as a significant breach of fair market competition.
Before then came ProtonMail, which is a secure email service founded in 2014. While this venture has survived to boast more than 50 million users globally, its founder says that it will never be a true competitor to Google without the type of innovation rolled out by the EU.
In simple terms, the DMA will enforce far higher levels of competition and create a more even playing field for business to compete on. At the same time, the accompanying Digital Services Act (DSA) will regulate data use and privacy, protecting customers and preventing firms like Google from leveraging this information unfairly.
The importance of legal technology solutions
The good news is that there are also legal tech solutions to help firms (particularly multinational tech companies) compete in the digital age.
These solutions have been cultivated by specialist law firms that have expertise on antitrust and privacy matters, while such entities also have their finger on the pulse of the latest developments in these spaces.
Make no mistake; you can leverage these resources to stay in touch and maintain your company’s competitiveness in this chosen market.
At the same time, you can rely on legal expertise to fight in instances where you’ve been unfairly disadvantaged, particularly at the hands of established tech giants such as Google, Amazon or Facebook.