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Apple, Google may face huge fines again as British government drafts new bill

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently proposed a new bill that could impose billions of pounds in fines on big tech companies such as Apple and Google for “breaking the rules”.

According to a press release from the UK government , the new bill aims to address the issue of “over-domination” by technology companies by empowering the CMA to promote competition and protect consumers. Technology companies deemed by the UK government to have a strategic market position will have to comply with the rules, or the CMA’s Digital Market Unit (DMU) will impose huge fines on these technology companies.

The CMA does not specify which tech companies with a “market strategic position” the unit will monitor, but there is a threshold in the bill of having a global turnover of more than £25 billion, or a UK turnover of more than £1 billion companies will be included in the scope of monitoring, so technology giants such as Apple, Google, and Amazon are likely to meet this definition.

The British government pointed out that the DMU may require these technology companies to make the operation mechanism of their applications and review systems more transparent, and the DMU has the right to open specific markets according to the situation. For example, Apple may be told to allow iPhone and iPad users to download apps from other app platforms; or Google’s search engine may be forced to open up data to its competitors.

This legislation will also regulate the “subscription trap”, some companies provide subscription services that make it difficult for consumers to cancel; but according to the new bill, these companies that provide subscription services must be in a free trial period or a low-price discount Remind consumers before a period is about to end, and make sure there is an efficient and straightforward way for consumers to unsubscribe.

The DMU will have the power to fine these companies up to 10 percent of the company’s global turnover if they do not comply with the new rule, and will hold the company’s top executives personally accountable for ensuring compliance. The concept of a 10% penalty on global turnover is like, Apple has $283 billion in revenue in 2022, and a 10% penalty means the amount could be as high as $28.3 billion.

The new bill will start to be enacted in 2021, and a hearing will be held in the British Parliament on Tuesday. The new regulations will come into effect after the approval of the Parliament, but they will be subject to secondary legislation and the release of relevant guidelines.


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