Title: Google and Cell Carriers Lobby EU to Regulate Apple’s iMessage as a Core Service
In a groundbreaking move, Google and major cell carriers are urging the European Union (EU) to designate Apple’s iMessage as a “core” service under the new “Digital Markets Act.” This act specifically targets tech industry giants and aims to impose interoperability, fairness, and privacy demands on them.
Currently, services provided by Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft have already been categorized as “gatekeeper” services. These services are subject to strict regulations, with criteria focusing on aspects such as monthly active EU users, active businesses in the EU, turnover, and market capitalization.
Despite initially meeting the thresholds for regulation, iMessage was left off the initial list after the EU considered Apple’s arguments against regulation. However, it is currently under a “market investigation” to determine whether it should qualify as a gatekeeper service.
Google and cell carriers strongly advocate for the regulation of iMessage, highlighting that the messaging platform restricts business users to sending enriched messages exclusively to iOS users. They argue that regulation is necessary to ensure fair competition.
Apple, on the other hand, contends that iMessage is too small to be regulated and primarily serves personal consumer communications. The tech giant insists that the messaging app does not have a significant impact on the market.
The most dominant messaging services in the EU currently include the Facebook-owned products WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which places iMessage on the periphery of being regulated. Analysts speculate that Google may be leveraging the EU’s influence as a means to pressure Apple into opening up iMessage in the US.
To further their cause, Google has launched a campaign called “get the message,” specifically advocating for Apple to adopt the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard.
It is worth noting that if the EU designates iMessage as a gatekeeper service, Apple would only be required to open up the platform within the EU, and not in the US, which is its largest market.
The European Commission’s decision on iMessage is expected by February 2024. If iMessage qualifies as a gatekeeper service, Apple would need to comply with the regulations by August of the same year.
This development has sparked considerable intrigue and debate within the tech industry, as it could potentially reshape how iMessage operates and impacts businesses in the future.
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