Digital Markets Act seeks fair competition with gatekeepers

Leaseurope responded to the recent consultation on this topic, highlighting that a narrow “gatekeeper” definition could exclude platforms that have significant power within certain industries, like rental.

The European Commission’s proposed Digital Markets Act sets out to establish a level playing field among participants in the digital single market by establishing certain obligations for very large platforms that meet the criteria to be deemed “gatekeepers” under the regulation. Essentially, an entity will be regarded as a gatekeeper if it:

  • Has a strong economic position, a significant impact on the internal market, and operates in numerous EU countries
  • Has a large role as an intermediary (i.e. the entity plays a significant role in linking businesses and customers for example)
  • Has (or will soon have) an “entrenched” and “durable” position in the market (i.e. its strong market position is stable over time)

Entities that meet these criteria will have to comply with certain obligations, such as allowing business users to access data they generate on the gatekeepers’ platform. Certain practices will also be prohibited, such as giving their own services a higher ranking within their platform (in search results for example) than that of their competitors.

Leaseurope recently responded to the Commission’s request for feedback on the draft, highlighting our support for this step in improving the oversight of very large online platforms, and the need to ensure fair competition within the digital marketplace. We also highlighted the need for a more holistic approach to defining which entities are deemed to be gatekeepers, since the current definition is fairly narrow and strictly defined. For example, it is possible for an entity to have a “gatekeeper-type” role within a certain industry (such as the car rental industry) without meeting the parameters to be defined as a “gatekeeper” under the proposal. We believe failing to recognise this will ultimately undermine the Commission’s efforts to ensure a level playing field for participants in the digital single market.

We also highlighted our support for the measures that regulate user data, since the use of this data often bolsters the already advantageous position of gatekeepers. Additionally, provisions such as the obligation for gatekeepers to be able to transfer user data in real time work to ensure consumers’ rights to data portability under the GDPR are met.