Europe has long been committed to ensuring that large technology companies do not have a free hand when it comes to their territory. Google has already suffered several fines in the old continent and the issue of centralised taxation in Ireland is still on the table. Now, it seems, it’s all about the apps that Google and Apple pre-install on your mobile phone.
Google has already been fined for its Android search engine prefixing, and now has to offer alternatives during the setup of each phone. The European Commission’s next move will go further as they have already drafted the Digital Services Actand it could put Apple, Google, Amazon and company on the ropes.
Data sharing and pre-installed applications
As the European Commission itself says, the Digital Services Act would be the first major European reform to regulate the Internet in more than two decades. It would seek to curb and regulate a series of behaviours of the big players in the technological market that are considered harmful. The European Commission even talks about preparing a blacklist of behaviors to limit.
In more than 30 paragraphs, according to the Financial Times, the European Commission lists both bans and obligations for major technology companies, which include, among other things, the prohibition of the use of user data for unlimited purposes: “Guardians (technology giants) will not use data received from commercial users for advertising services for any purpose other than advertising services“.
But without a doubt, the great shock that the Digital Services Act would cause would affect the content of our mobile phones. The draft prepared by the European Commission would prohibit the preferential treatment of major technologies within their own services, as well as on websites and platforms, and this would directly affect both Apple and Google in mobile (iOS and Android) and Google, Apple and Microsoft on desktop operating systems (ChromeOS, MacOS and Windows).
Bans and obligations on major technologies that can shake up the mobile landscape
The draft would indicate that the large technological owners of services, websites and platforms should not be allowed to pre-install their own applications on “hardware devices such as laptops or telephones”, and that they should not be allowed to do so either “.force other companies to pre-install their software exclusively.”
So it seems that waves are coming for the big players in the mobile market as Europe could force both Google and Apple to to offer their phones without their own applications, or at least to be able to uninstall them without problems to access competing apps and services. We’ll see what happens when the Digital Services Act is passed, if it is passed. We’ll keep an eye out.
More information : European Commission