E.U. Takes Aim at Alphabet, Apple and Meta in Wide-Ranging Investigations

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The inquiries signal the bloc’s intention to tightly enforce sweeping new competition rules that took effect this month.

Alphabet, Apple and Meta were told by European Union regulators on Monday that they were under investigation for a range of potential violations of the region’s new competition law.

The inquiries are the first that regulators have announced since the Digital Markets Act took effect on March 7, and they signal the bloc’s intention to tightly enforce the sweeping new competition rules. The law requires Alphabet, Apple, Meta and other tech giants to open up their platforms so smaller rivals can have more access to their users.

The investigations center on whether Apple and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are unfairly favoring their own app stores to box out rivals. Meta will be questioned about a new ad-free subscription service and the use of data for selling advertising.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, can fine the companies up to 10 percent of their global revenue, which for each runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The commission has 12 months to complete its investigations.

The companies had already announced a number of changes to their products, services and business practices to try to comply with the Digital Markets Act. But in announcing the investigations on Monday, regulators said that the changes did not go far enough.

“Certain compliance measures fail to achieve their objectives and fall short of expectations,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president, who announced the investigations at a news conference in Brussels. Compliance with the law, she said, “is something that we take very seriously.”

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