EU lawmakers reached a broad consensus on new digital platform rules aimed at reducing the power of tech giants.
A review of the dominance of these platforms began in Europe last year with concerns that companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have too much control over the buying and selling of goods and services online.
"Today's deal is an important milestone in the digital market, which will benefit millions of European companies relying on digital platforms to reach their customers," said EU Digital Single Market Vice President Andrus Ansip in a statement . "Our goal is to exclude some of the most unfair practices and create a goal of openness while ensuring the great benefits of online platforms for both consumers and businesses."
In recent years, European leaders have got tougher with US tech giants on issues such as taxation, antitrust concerns and privacy and data. Google has been the special target of ongoing ire and is facing a $ 5 billion fine for alleged abuse of its Android platform and another $ 2.72 billion in a search engine cause. Apple still appeals a decision that would require it to pay $ 1
But the new rules are aimed at addressing more fundamental fears of these companies' roles in the everyday lives of EU citizens. The idea is to curb what the EU sees as unfair practices of app stores, search engines, e-commerce sites and even hotel reservation services.
While the EU says the rules are aimed at 7,000 online platforms, those most likely to be affected are Amazon, eBay, Apple's App Store, Google Play, Facebook and Booking.com.
The last part will probably cause the largest gap between Europe and tech giants. The EU expects the disclosure of information such as how goods and services are ranked, the type of insight the companies usually insist, must remain secret in order to avoid manipulation.
According to the proposal, online marketplaces must also specify more clearly when selling their own products and services – in competition with small businesses. The EU says that such a sale must be "exhaustively disclosed" in the future.
In addition, more information will be needed on which data is collected on these platforms and how it is used.