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EU tightens rules for booking platform Booking.com

EU tightens rules for booking platform Booking.com
Brussels wants to limit the market power of large digital companies like Booking.com.

According to the EU Commission’s decision on Monday, the company falls under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), with which Brussels wants to limit the market power of large digital companies. Booking must therefore create fairer conditions for providers of hotels and holiday apartments. Anyone who books accommodation via Booking should have “more choice and freedom” in the future. The EU Commission also announced that the platform must offer providers “fair access” to their services. Among other things, this is likely to mean more freedom of choice when it comes to booking and cancellation conditions.

The Amsterdam-based company is “an important player” in the European tourism industry, said EU Digital Commissioner Thierry Breton. Brussels will “ensure that the company fully meets the DMA obligations,” he stressed. Booking now has six months to do this; the company must, among other things, submit a detailed report to the commission.

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Brussels says it is also checking whether the online service X (formerly Twitter) also falls under the law. US billionaire Elon Musk’s company had argued that the service did not exercise any particular market power despite the high number of users because there were sufficient alternatives such as the Threads or Mastodon platforms.

Limit market power of “gatekeepers”.

With the law for digital markets, the EU wants to limit the market power of so-called gatekeepers – of the Internet. The regulations have been in effect since the beginning of March for Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Tiktok parent Bytedance, Meta and Microsoft. The law obliges the US technology giant Apple to allow alternatives to its App Store; Google is no longer allowed to give preference to its own services in the results of its search engine.

Proceedings are already underway against Apple, Google and Meta for alleged violations of the new rules. If the allegations are confirmed, the companies could face penalties of up to ten percent of their global annual sales. As a final measure, the EU Commission can also order the break-up of a company.

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