Apple will not be forced by the EU to open iMessage

Apple’s iMessage does not qualify as a “core platform service” under the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), the European Commission announced today. The decision means that the service will not face onerous new obligations, including the requirement to provide interoperability with other messaging services. The Commission also chose not to identify Microsoft’s Edge browser, Bing search engine and advertising activities as core platform services.

“After a thorough assessment of all arguments, taking into account input from relevant stakeholders, and hearing the Digital Markets Advisory Committee, the Commission concluded that iMessage, Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising do not qualify as gatekeeper services” , the EU press release said. reads, despite meeting the quantitative thresholds of a core platform service. Both Apple and Microsoft welcomed the Commission’s decision in statements The edge.

The decision is the result of a five-month investigation that the Commission opened when it published its list of 22 regulated services last September. While it identified Apple’s App Store, Safari browser and iOS operating system as core platform services, it waited to make a final decision on iMessage until an investigation could be completed. A similar investigation into iPadOS is still ongoing.

Meta, meanwhile, has seen two of its messaging platforms, WhatsApp and Messenger, designated as core platform services under the DMA, and has been working to make them interoperable with third-party services. The company recently detailed how WhatsApp interoperability will work, explaining how users will have to opt-in to receive communications from third-party messaging apps, and that these messages will then appear in a separate inbox. Companies that want to work with WhatsApp will have to sign an agreement with Meta and adhere to its terms.

While iMessage has avoided the burden of compliance that comes with the official DMA designation, the period of regulatory scrutiny coincided with Apple’s announcement of the cross-platform RCS messaging standard on iPhones, which Google has insisted. In what probably doesn’t seem like a coincidence, Apple made the RCS announcement on November 16, the deadline for appealing the European Commission’s DMA designation.

Google expressed its disappointment with the Commission’s decision. “Excluding these popular services from DMA rules means consumers and businesses won’t get the breadth of choice that already exists on other, more open platforms,” Google spokesperson Emily Clarke said. The edge in a statement.

Apple has made it clear that it will support the cross-platform standard in addition to iMessage; it does not replace the company’s own messaging service. “[RCS] will work together with iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users,” Apple spokesperson Jacqueline Roy said at the time. The distinction between blue and green bubbles will remain, except that green bubbles now indicate messages sent via feature-rich RCS rather than SMS.

Apple’s Safari browser, iOS operating system and App Store must still meet the regulation’s strictest requirements when DMA goes into full effect on March 7. Apple recently announced a series of changes it is making to comply with regulations, including allowing alternative app stores and browser engines other than WebKit.

But critics are unhappy with how Apple complies with the DMA, especially with a Core Technology Fee, which requires developers to pay $0.50 per download every year, even if they distribute apps to alternative app stores (although the first million downloads are exempt ). Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called Apple’s plans “hot garbage” and “another example of malicious compliance,” while Spotify said the new fee is “extortion, plain and simple,” and that the compliance plan amounts to ” a complete and utter farce’. .”

Update February 13, 10:24 am ET: Added comments from Apple, Microsoft and Google.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *