Launch of the Coalition for Competitive Digital Markets
Mailfence joins 22 peer companies to launch the Coalition for Competitive Digital Markets. The #C4DM supports stronger rules for large online platforms. So-called “gatekeepers” like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon must no longer be allowed to control consumer access to information and abuse their position to limit market access.
The Digital Markets Act needs to impose stronger rules on pre-installed apps, interoperability, and bundling to make digital markets open and competitive.
In summary the Coalition for Competitive Digital Markets says:
For more info: visit our website where you can apply to join!
Open Letter: The EU Needs an Effective Digital Markets Act
We write to you as a large group of European technology firms to urge you to include and support in the upcoming Digital Markets Act the stronger upfront rules for dominant “gatekeeper” firms detailed below. Such requirements are key to unleashing Europe’s economic potential and empowering European tech companies to ultimately stand a chance for becoming global tech leaders.
- Extend the interoperability provision to all core platform services, for all business and consumer offerings. Interoperability is a key factor in the Internet’s original success and a key tool for the EU to gain digital sovereignty, restore opportunities amongst industry players of all sizes and promote fair competition on digital markets. An interoperability provision extended to all core platform services would result in more efficiency for European businesses and public administrations, thus fuelling competition and innovation in the digital markets, by enabling companies of any size to compete with the gatekeepers on the basis of their merits.
- Prohibit the gatekeepers’ harmful self-preferencing by introducing an explicit pre-installation and default setting ban for core platform services. End-users should be able to select their preferred core platform service through for example a preference menu. Just the possibility to uninstall applications or to more easily change defaults is by far not enough to address the core of the problem, since 95% of users never change the defaults that come with their device. This is especially harmful on smartphones, now the main gateway to the Internet for most users.
- Extend the bundling prohibition to ancillary services, as narrowing the provision to core services only could still limit market contestability. Bundling is a common way for gatekeepers to extend their dominance into other services, rapidly taking over the related markets.
Digital markets where incumbent companies already benefit from large user bases are extremely hard to challenge due to the so-called “network effect”, even when European companies and startups conceive better, more innovative products. Gatekeepers build closed ecosystems – “walled gardens”- and barriers to entry. This is done through the lack of interoperability, and then use bundling and self-preferencing to expand them into other products and services. Enforcing competition, consumer choice and interoperation with other service providers would allow European challengers to compete on the merits of their services.
The Digital Markets Act holds the potential to solve these issues and unleash the European internet industry. To move away from walled gardens, we urge you to ensure that the DMA tackles barriers to interoperability, bundling and anticompetitive default setting through pre-installation.
We hope you will seize this opportunity.
Patrick is the co-founder of Mailfence. He’s been a serial entrepreneur and startup investor since 1994 and launched several pioneering internet companies such as Allmansland, IP Netvertising or Express.be. He is a strong believer and advocate of encryption and privacy. You can follow @pdeschutter on Twitter and LinkedIn.