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Apple, Google and Meta could lose 10% annual sales if Europe wants them to

Apple, Google and Meta must comply with new Digital Markets Act. Whether they actually do that is going to get to the bottom of the European Union.

The European Union has a stranglehold on the big tech companies of this world. With the Digital Markets Act, Apple, Google and Meta have to settle for new rules and make major adjustments to their ecosystems. For example, Facebook has to do things differently in terms of ads, Apple is adapting its iPhone.

Yet that is not enough. The European Commission today announced investigations towards Apple, Meta and Google for allegedly not fully complying with the rules. The investigations will last 12 months and the conclusion will most likely be a slap on the wrist. Again.

European Commission investigates Apple, Google and Meta

So five investigations over the next 12 months should determine whether Apple, Google and Meta are complying neatly with the European Union’s new rules. Indeed, where the parties do make the necessary changes, reluctance causes them to try to do it as minimally as possible. And the European Commission, at least, does not agree.

The Google Play Store and Apple App Store’s new rules are under the microscope in the coming months, but that’s not all. Google may no longer give its own services preferential treatment within its own search engine, and Apple must give other browsers the same chance as Safari. Whether the two actually do that is what the investigation is about.

TikTok wants to take on Instagram with this new app (Image: EPA/Shawn Thew)

So in addition, the commission is also announcing an investigation into Meta and its ad payment model. Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s American company rolled out a subscription model for Instagram and Facebook, which meant you could use the services without ads.

In doing so, the company also got six months to support other chat apps within Messenger.

Peppery slap on the wrist

The European Commission will first conduct the investigation and then determine if the companies are complying. If they do not, it will tell them how to do so and check what plans they have. Is that not according to agreement and legislation, so a fine is coming.

That fine, by the way, can really be a hefty one, because it’s about 10 percent of annual worldwide sales that Apple, Google and Meta can risk. If they get it wrong multiple times, it’s as much as 20 percent of annual revenue.

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