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The Digital Markets Act for Fair and Open Digital Markets

The Digital Markets Act for Fair and Open Digital Markets

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) introduces a precise set of criteria for identifying large online platforms as "gatekeepers."

This deliberate approach ensures that the DMA remains focused on addressing issues associated with large, systemic online platforms.

What are Gatekeepers in the DMA?

A company is considered a gatekeeper if it meets the following criteria:

  1. Economic Dominance: It holds a substantial economic position, exerts a significant impact on the internal market, and operates across multiple EU countries.
  2. Intermediation Dominance: It serves as a pivotal link between a sizable user base and numerous businesses.
  3. Market Stability: It maintains an entrenched and enduring market position, demonstrated by meeting the above criteria in each of the last three financial years.

For more detailed information and Commission decisions related to the DMA, visit the dedicated DMA website.

Google is a Gatekeeper in the EU

Under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the European Union, Google qualifies as a gatekeeper due to its substantial economic position, significant impact on the internal market, and widespread presence across multiple EU countries.

These criteria classify Google as a large online platform that plays a pivotal role in the digital ecosystem.

As a gatekeeper, Google is subject to specific obligations and guidelines outlined in the DMA to ensure fair and open digital markets.

These regulations aim to prevent Google from using unfair practices against business users and customers, thus promoting competition, innovation, and consumer choice within the EU's digital landscape.

In essence, the DMA recognizes Google as a gatekeeper, acknowledging its influential position and the need for regulatory oversight to maintain a level playing field in the digital markets.

Benefits of the Digital Markets Act

In an attempt to bring order to digital spaces, leaders hope the DMA will have the following positive outcomes:

Fair Business Environment

Business users reliant on gatekeepers to offer services in the market will benefit from a more equitable business environment.

Opportunities for Innovators

Innovators and tech start-ups will find new avenues to compete and innovate within online platforms, free from unfair terms and conditions hindering their growth.

Enhanced Consumer Experience

Consumers will enjoy a wider selection of high-quality services, increased freedom to switch providers, direct access to services, and fair pricing.

Gatekeeper Innovation

Gatekeepers can continue to innovate and offer new services, provided they refrain from unfair practices against business users and customers dependent on them.

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Responsibilities of Gatekeepers

The DMA introduces obligations and guidelines for gatekeepers in their daily operations. These include:


  • Allowing third parties to interoperate with the gatekeeper's own services in specific situations.
  • Granting business users access to the data generated in their use of the gatekeeper's platform.
  • Equipping companies advertising on their platform with the necessary tools for independent verification of advertisements.
  • Permitting business users to promote their offerings and conclude contracts outside the gatekeeper's platform.


  • Treating their own services or products more favorably in rankings than similar offerings from third parties on the platform.
  • Preventing consumers from connecting with businesses outside their platforms.
  • Restricting users from uninstalling pre-installed software or apps.
  • Tracking end users outside the core platform service for targeted advertising without effective consent.

Ensuring DMA Adaptation in a Rapidly Evolving Digital Sector

The Commission will conduct market investigations to keep pace with the dynamic digital landscape. This allows for:

  • The identification of gatekeeper companies.
  • Ongoing updates to gatekeeper obligations as needed.
  • The design of remedies to address systematic DMA rule infringements.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

For gatekeepers failing to comply with DMA rules, repercussions include:

  • Fines of up to 10% of the company's global annual turnover (or up to 20% for repeated violations).
  • Periodic penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily turnover.
  • Potential additional remedies, such as behavioral or structural changes, in cases of systematic infringements.

Next Steps in DMA Implementation

The DMA came into effect in May 2023. Within two months, core platform service providers must notify the Commission and provide relevant information.

The Commission will then have 45 working days to designate specific gatekeepers. Designated gatekeepers will have six months to ensure compliance with DMA obligations following the Commission's decision.

The DMA brings clarity and uniformity to gatekeeper obligations across the EU, addressing issues previously left unregulated or governed by outdated rules.

This fosters legal certainty for platforms, reduces compliance costs for gatekeepers and their business users, and promotes fairer business practices within the digital ecosystem. 

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