One of the main goals of the European Union is to expand digitalization as a means to promoting a dynamic economy and efficient governance while also attaining the environmental targets of the Member States. Consistent concrete steps to be made in that respect are outlined in the digital strategy of the EU: Another, further step was made in early 2022 towards the adoption of two key regulations that would govern, respectively, the digital markets and digital services. Those measures are related to other legislative proposals, e.g., the draft Regulation on Artificial Intelligence, or already adopted pieces of legislation, e.g., the amendments to the supply of digital services and digital content consumer protection regime.

Despite some similarities between the two regulations, their goals and scope should be clearly outlined. To that end, they will be reviewed separately below in the context of the issues that need to be dealt with within the realm of digital markets and digital services.

The Digital Markets Act (proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector) was proposed by the European Commission in response to the need to regulate the special role of part of the providers of specific digital services. Such providers, termed ‘gatekeepers’ in the proposal, may, through their conduct, harm free competition beyond the purview of their own services while also creating unnecessary obstacles to users’ access to certain core digital services. The easiest and most glaring example in that respect are providers of operating systems like Microsoft Windows or Android, who can bundle their software with other applications for which significantly greater competition exists in the market. Examples in that regard are the bundling of Microsoft Windows at first with Internet Explorer (now Microsoft Edge) or the Google-based applications that come bundled with the Android operating system.

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