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Big Tech should seek rivals' input on complying with EU rules, European businesses say

Illustration shows Schibsted logo

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Schibsted, Allegro and more than 20 other small European companies and industry groups on Tuesday urged Big Tech to seek their input into how it plans to comply with new EU rules aimed at creating more competition ahead of a March deadline.

As part of its latest crackdown on Big Tech, the European Union in September last year said 22 "gatekeeper" services, run by six of the world's biggest tech companies, would be subject to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) with its list of dos and don'ts.

The DMA requires these gatekeepers - Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok owner ByteDance - to operate their messaging apps together with competitors and allow users to decide which apps they pre-install on their devices, among others.

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The companies have until March 6 to comply with the new rules. Sweden's Schibsted, Polish company Allegro and 22 other companies in a joint open letter said so far such efforts seem to be falling short.

"Gatekeepers have either failed to engage in a dialogue with third parties or have presented solutions falling short of compliance with the DMA. Businesses and consumers are largely kept in the dark as to what is going to happen after 7 March 2024," they said.

They said Big Tech should "engage as soon as possible with business users and other stakeholders, such as business and consumer associations, in a constructive dialogue and make swift progress on their proposed compliance solutions."

Other signatories to the letter include Germany's Idealo, French tech companies Qwant and Le Guide, UK's Kelkoo, Proton and Vipps MobilePay.

The call by the companies and nine industry groups which include News Media Europe, the Coalition for App Fairness, EU Tech Travel and the European Publishers Council echoed similar recent calls from European Commission officials.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)