EU looking at iMessage like It’s a Core App
Google and major European telecom operators have called on the European Commission to designate Apple’s iMessage as a “core” app.
- This move would require Apple to make iMessage fully compatible with competing messaging apps.
- The verdict has the potential to reshape the European messaging landscape.
Google and major European telecom companies are calling on the European Commission to subject Apple’s iMessage to compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The European Commission is currently investigating the situation to determine whether iMessage should be categorized as a “core” platform service.
This would compel Apple to ensure compatibility with other messaging apps. It would then end the current exclusivity of iMessage to Apple users.
As things stand, iMessage only allows communication among Apple users. This is a significant factor in retaining iPhone owners’ loyalty, particularly among younger consumers. Android users who join iMessage chats experience a downgrade in functionality, including lower-quality videos and photos. Like the green vs blue text debate between Android users and iPhone users. This is smart on Apple’s part. Remember the BBM hype and how enticing it was that only BlackBerry owners had it? A “You can’t sit with us” type of exclusivity, you know?
In a letter sent to the European Commission and reported by the Financial Times, signatories, including a Google senior vice-president and CEOs of telecom giants Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and Orange, argue that Apple’s iMessage fulfills the qualitative requirements set forth in the DMA. They also assert that categorizing iMessage as a “core” service would ultimately “benefit European consumers and businesses.”
You see, the plaintiffs are pushing the EU to classify iMessage as a “core” app without which the digital market cannot function. If classified as such, the company may be obligated to make the service interoperable with other services, among other things.
Apple was not the least bit amused, obviously, and countered with the fact that users do not directly pay for its use and iPhones can function without the messaging app.
By the looks of things, the Commission is leaning against Apple as they view iMessage as essential to the Apple ecosystem and indirectly responsible for generating revenue.
What we see here is the EU’s grand entrance to the telecom scene. They are trying to empower their telecom operators and distancing themselves from outside affiliations. But this seems to be stretching the law a bit too thin, no?
First, they designated it as a gatekeeper and demanded compliance. Okay, fair. It’s Apple, after all. Now, they are reaching so far, that they might fall off the table to further dictate what a PRIVATE company does. What’s next? Show us your confidential files. Even I must side with Apple.
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