Google and the EU’s largest telecom operators have reportedly asked Brussels to classify iMessage as an essential service, which will force Apple to make its Messenger compatible with other messaging platforms Financial Times.
The European Commission is examining whether Apple’s iMessage should be added to the list of services that must comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which specifically requires seamless connections to competing services, including WhatsApp. Now only Apple device owners can fully communicate via iMessage. The messages they send are displayed in the system by a “blue bubble”. This is a factor in maintaining user loyalty to the company’s products, especially among representatives of the younger generation. Messages sent from Android smartphones appear green, which indicates the inclusion of the standard SMS and MMS protocols, and as a result, for example, the quality of the videos and photos sent suffers. Competitors have long tried to force Apple to abandon the closed nature of the iMessage service.
The letter addressed to the European Commission was sent on behalf of the senior vice president of Google and the heads of European mobile operators Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Orange – according to their version, Apple Messenger meets the minimum requirements of the DMA. This matter must be documented “for the benefit of European consumers and businesses”. The law applies to technology companies with an annual turnover of 7.5 billion euros and at least 10,000 business users in the region. However, European authorities decide which services to include on the list on a case-by-case basis.
As part of the EU review, Apple said iMessage should not be included in the list because consumers of the service do not pay directly for its use and the company’s devices can be used without a proprietary messenger. Apple has noticed this “iMessage is not a key gateway for connecting business users to end users in the region due to its small scale compared to other messaging services.”. However, according to the European Commission, iMessage indirectly contributes to Apple’s revenue because the application is pre-installed and can only be used on devices from this manufacturer, which means that it is “an important element in expanding the Apple ecosystem”.
According to Google and European operators “basic nature” Like iMessage “An important gateway between business users and their consumers undoubtedly defines Apple’s role as gatekeeper of its iMessage service.”. Consumers will benefit from Apple granting this status because “enhanced messaging” will continue to be available only between owners of the manufacturer’s devices. “It is critical that businesses can reach all of their customers using modern communications tools with advanced messaging capabilities. iMessage allows business users to send rich messages only to iOS users, while all other end users rely on traditional SMS.”the letter says.
Instead of new comments, Apple referred to its previous statement: “Today, consumers have access to a wide range of messaging apps and often use several at the same time, showing how easy it is to switch between them. iMessage is designed and marketed for personalized communications between consumers and we look forward to the opportunity to explain to the panel why iMessage exists outside of the DMA.”. The European Commission must make a decision by February 2024.