Apple’s iMessage Won’t Need to Open Up to Rivals, Says EU

The European Commission announced on Tuesday that Apple’s iMessage, along with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Edge web browser and Advertising service, will not be subject to the tough new rules of the European Union, aimed at limiting the power of big tech companies.

The investigation concluded that these services do not have a dominant market position to warrant regulation under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Apple told Bloomberg they welcomed the EU decision in a statement. This decision likely is a blow to Google and Android, as they have argued for years for iMessage to fully adopt RCS, which is coming.

The DMA targets the core business practices of six of the world’s leading technology companies, identified as digital “gatekeepers,” aiming to prevent them from exploiting their market dominance.

While certain services from Microsoft and Apple have been exempted, both companies, along with Meta Platforms, Google, Amazon, and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, will still encounter new requirements designed to ensure fair competition.

For Microsoft, the DMA will apply to its Windows software for PCs and LinkedIn.

“In its decision of 5 September 2023, the Commission considered that the rebuttal requests made by Apple and Microsoft deserved an in-depth analysis. Following a thorough assessment of all arguments, taking into account input by relevant stakeholders, and after hearing the Digital Markets Advisory Committee, the Commission found that iMessage, Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising do not qualify as gatekeeper services,” said the EU on Tuesday.

Apple will need to follow regulations concerning iOS, the App Store, and Safari. The DMA stops big tech from prioritizing their services over competitors’, merging personal data across their platforms, using data collected from third-party sellers to compete unfairly, and restricts them from preventing users from downloading apps from rival platforms.

These new rules are set to kick in on March 7, 2024.

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