iA: Unraveling the Digital Markets Act

Point by point, what the provisions in the Digital Markets Act mean.

To the extent that is realistically possible, this is a piece of legislation that plucks the power bestowed upon a few actors from their hands and back into the citizens', the customers', the owners'.

The world is complicated and there are a number of points where the law will force one trade-off to turn into another trade-off. For example, there are the actions affecting the ad market, where the light will fall and land on various actors curiously scurrying away – not the oligopolists themselves (mostly), but the exploitative, get-away-with-whatever-you-can, bonkers actors on the market they created. If they can't do what they do now, I'm not sure they will consign themselves to lives of quiet contemplation and community service. But worrying about whether the cure will be hell is no reason to put off fighting the disease any longer.

I view this as a cornerstone of civil rights and customer rights in the same vein as the GDPR. The EU does not get everything right and are not the foremost authority on how this all should work. But they are in the same place as the United States Government was before passing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. When the corporations involved have decided that they don't feel like doing anything, what else is left to do?

The major technology companies affected by the DMA, to the letter, are acting in self-serving, customer-harming ways because they get away with it. Everyone knows it's unfair. Everyone knows it takes seconds to push a feature flag with the dark pattern or the monopolistic behavior and ages to prosecute. Everyone knows there's no one else between the App Review team and the developer. Everyone knows you can't realistically avoid having many of them in your life, or between you and your bank, friend, employer or government, to the point that anyone attempting a protest is labelled a kook by the same people cheerily asserting that "if they don't like it they should just use something else".

There was another way. This was not inevitable. They just chose not to.

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