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EU’s Vestager cheers as lawmakers vote for tougher tech laws

STRASBOURG, Nov 23 (Reuters) – A key committee of EU lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to tougher laws focusing on Amazon (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google and Facebook (FB.O), incomes a thumbs-up from EU antitrust chief and architect of the concept Margrethe Vestager.

Frustrated by the gradual tempo of antitrust investigations, Vestager late final 12 months proposed the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which units out an inventory of dos and don’ts for U.S. tech giants designated as on-line gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers are firms with at the least 8 billion euros ($9 billion) in European turnover and an 80 billion euro market capitalisation. The guidelines must be thrashed out with the European Parliament and EU international locations earlier than they are often adopted.

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A Parliamentary committee, drafting lawmakers’ negotiating place on the difficulty, voted for a tougher line that might additionally see journey web site reserving.com, China’s Alibaba and on-line retailer Zalando (ZALG.DE) categorised as gatekeepers.

The group additionally prolonged the scope of the DMA to net browsers, digital assistants and linked TV, from Vestager’s record of on-line intermediation companies, social networks, serps, working methods, internet marketing companies, cloud computing and video-sharing companies.

It additionally desires to empower the European Commission to briefly halt so-called killer acquisitions by gatekeepers, or takeovers aimed toward shutting down nascent rivals.

Targeted promoting can be allowed with the consent of customers, however banned for minors.

Breaches of the principles would end in fines of between 4% to twenty% of an organization’s international turnover, in contrast with Vestager’s proposed 10%.

“Great news! Today’s @EP_SingleMarket vote brings us one step closer to the DMA’s adoption. One step closer to a free, fair and competitive Tech market where all players stand a chance to make it,” Vestager tweeted.

“We do not want bigger companies getting bigger and bigger without getting any better and at the expense of consumers and the European economy,” lawmaker Andreas Schwab mentioned.

Tech lobbying group CCIA warned of one-size-fits-all laws.

“The lack of any impact assessment of the Parliament’s amendments take the DMA deeper into unknown territory creating significant risks of unintended consequences for Europe’s digital economy,” its competitors lawyer Kayvan Hazemi-Jebelli mentioned.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee
Editing by Mark Potter

EU Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager holds a news conference on European Commission's competition policy, in Brussels, Belgium November 18, 2021, REUTERS/Yves Herman

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