European technology companies launch the new Coalition for Competitive Digital Markets (C4DM)

● A group of 23 technology companies operating in Europe and a business association
of more than 45,000 European SMEs have joined forces to advocate for open and
competitive digital markets.
● The Coalition for Competitive Digital Markets (C4DM) supports stronger rules for
large online platforms in the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the new EU proposal to
update the competition law for digital markets with upfront rules for ‘gatekeeping’
● C4DM is calling for amendments to the DMA to include the extension of
interoperability provisions to all core platform services, the ban of pre-installation and
default setting of core platform apps, and the extension of the bundling prohibition to
ancillary services.

A group of 23 technology companies operating in Europe
and a business association of more than 45,000 digital SMEs announced today a new
coalition to advocate for fair rules in digital markets. The Coalition for Competitive
Digital Markets (C4DM) was founded by Element, Open-Xchange, Proton and the
European DIGITAL SME Alliance as a joint effort to contribute to a more balanced and open
digital environment.
Today’s internet is dominated by services and products offered by a small number of
dominant online platforms, such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. These so-called
“gatekeepers” control consumers’ access to information and abuse their position in order to
limit market access for European businesses that offer alternative business models and
services such as search, email, social media, operating system and web browser.
“The European internet industry could grow by offering better, open source alternatives to
the walled gardens of the dominant players, giving more choice to consumers and creating
jobs and opportunities.” said Vittorio Bertola, head of Policy and Innovation at Open
X-change. “However, this requires restoring fair competition by mandating the adoption of
interoperability through open standards – one of the original principles of the internet.”
Specifically, C4DM is calling for action on the following points:
● An extension of the interoperability provision to all core platform services to improve
efficiency for SMEs and make it easier for companies operating in Europe to compete
with gatekeepers;
● The introduction of an explicit ban on pre-installed apps and default settings allowing
users to choose their own core services such as email, search and messaging apps;
● The widening of the ban on bundling services with operating systems, to also include
ancillary services, as narrowing the provision to core services only could still limit
market contestability.
C4DM is engaging with hundreds of Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) and
Council representatives to raise its concerns and draw attention to the importance of
addressing these key points ahead of the final vote in the Committee on the Internal Market
and Consumer Protection (IMCO) on 8 November and of the adoption of the General
Approach by the Council on 25 November.
“We are joining this coalition to bring attention to the unbalanced relationship between
smaller digital players and the large dominant digital companies.” said Dr Oliver Grün,
President of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance. “We believe that all companies should
play by fair rules.”
While many of the services offered by the gatekeepers have been beneficial to users, there
is a growing concern worldwide regarding the detrimental effect stemming from the
dominance of those large platforms in terms of both openness and contestability of the
digital markets and the internet as a whole.
“The DMA is an ambitious and unique opportunity to finally bring tech regulations into the
21st century,” said Andy Yen, Founder and CEO of Proton. “However, for it to be successful
it is vital that the final legislation properly addresses the challenges facing technology
companies operating in Europe and levels the competitive playing field. Without action on
interoperability, pre-installed apps and bundling rules there is a very real risk that Big Tech
will retain its market dominance and all the other good work that has gone into the DMA will
be undermined.”
Even when tech challengers conceive better, more innovative products, they hardly stand a
chance to reach customers. Gatekeepers maintain their position through a lack of
interoperability, forced bundling and self-preferencing – in effect creating a walled garden of
services which locks out competition and innovation.
“The web was built as an open decentralised platform and has now been taken over by big
corporations. It is time for the pendulum to swing back the other way. By enforcing
competition, consumer choice and interoperation with other service providers we will allow
European innovators to compete on the merits of their services and open up the markets to
innovation.” concluded Amandine Le Pape, COO at Element.
To learn more about the Coalition’s key demands and to join us as a supporter, please
check out our website or contact us directly at info@competitivedigitalmarkets.eu.