Let’s decipher: the Digital Market Act (DMA)

Today marks an important turning point in the European digital landscape with the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). We explain what […]

6 March 2024

Today marks an important turning point in the European digital landscape with the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). We explain what it is, and what the impact is for Qwant!

What is DMA?

The DMA is legislation designed to regulate large digital platforms that exert significant influence on the European market. It aims to ensure a fairer, more open and competitive online environment by imposing specific obligations on digital gatekeepers .

The DMA covers widespread online services provided by large platforms. It now lists 10 essential platform services, which are concerned:

  • Intermediation services (such as marketplaces, app stores);
  • Search engines;
  • Social media;
  • Video-sharing platforms;
  • Online messaging;
  • Operating systems (including connected TVs);
  • Cloud services;
  • Advertising services;
  • Web browsers;
  • Virtual assistants.

What is a gatekeeper ?

These gatekeepers or gatekeepers at the entrance to the Internet are players with a strong impact on the internal market. They are an important access point for business users to reach their customers. Gatekeepers can be established in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

For the purposes of this legislation, gatekeepers are undertakings which

  • provide one or more essential platform services in at least three European countries;
  • have a very high turnover or market valuation: at least €7.5 billion in annual turnover in Europe in the last three years or €75 billion or more in market capitalisation in the last year;
  • have a large number of users in the EU: more than 45 million Europeans per month and 10,000 professionals per year for the last three years.

On 6 September, the European Commission published the list of the 6 gatekeepers as well as the services concerned by this legislation:

In concrete terms, what will it change?

Companies designated as gatekeepers will have to comply with a number of obligations or prohibitions for each of their services.

For example, they will need to:

  • make the basic functionalities of their instant messaging services (Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, etc.) interoperable.
  • allow companies to promote their offerings and enter into contracts with their customers outside of platforms;
  • give companies access to their marketing or advertising performance data on their platform;
  • no longer favor their services and products over those of the sellers who use their platform (self-preference) or exploit other companies’ data to compete with them;
  • stop reusing a user’s personal data for targeted advertising purposes, without their explicit consent;
  • no longer require application developers to provide certain ancillary services (e.g. payment system).

And for Qwant, what does it change?

Qwant is not a gatekeeper, but is subject to the dominant position of certain market players. Thanks to the DMA regulation, Qwant is now available in the list of search engines on the Safari browser (Apple). Until now, our search engine could not be easily installed by default on this browser. We had put online a “Qwant for Safari ” extension that countered our absence, but did not make the user experience optimal.

This evolution will allow Safari users to choose Qwant as their default search engine, directly in the browser settings.

What’s next?

For our part, it is impossible to say whether this measure will allow us to significantly increase our audience, but this regulation is synonymous with openness to the market and transparency. That’s a good start. We will be closely monitoring the effects of this measure.

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