Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Edge web browser and Advertising services are set to be exempt from strict new EU antitrust rules reining in Big Tech platforms because watchdogs tentatively concluded they’re not dominant enough to be hit by the regulation.
European Commission officials are leaning towards the reprieve for the US software giant as part of a five-month market investigation ending in February, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. The boost for Microsoft comes after a report that officials already opted against including Apple’s iMessage service in the new Digital Markets Act, which takes effect in March.
The EU’s DMA strikes at the heart of the business models of six of the world’s most powerful technology firms deemed to be digital “gatekeepers”. While some of their services are now set to be exempt, Microsoft and Apple — alongside Meta Platforms, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon.com and TikTok owner ByteDance — will still face a raft of new obligations aimed at preventing them from abusing their dominance in other parts of their business.
For Microsoft, this includes its Windows operating system for PCs and LinkedIn social media platform. For Apple, it includes its iOS mobile operating system, App Store and Safari browser.
Under the law, it will be illegal for the designated firms to favour their own services over those of rivals. They’ll be barred from combining personal data across their different services, prohibited from using data they collect from third-party merchants to compete against them, and will have to allow users to download apps from rivals’ platforms.
The Brussels-based commission and Microsoft declined to comment on the EU carve-outs.
Apple, Meta and ByteDance all filed court challenges against the EU’s decision to designate them or some of their services under the DMA. — (c) 2024 Bloomberg LP