Apple claims iMessage lacks sufficient popularity in the EU to warrant regulation.

Apple claims iMessage lacks sufficient popularity in the EU to warrant regulation.

Apple’s iMessage Faces Scrutiny Under EU Law

Image Source: MacRumors

Apple’s popular messaging service, iMessage, is currently under scrutiny as to whether it qualifies as a “gatekeeper” under EU law. According to the Financial Times, Apple argues that iMessage does not have a sufficient user base to meet the criteria for regulation.

The discussion regarding iMessage’s classification comes in anticipation of the release of the first list of services to be regulated by the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This legislation aims to impose new rules on tech giants that meet the “gatekeeper” criteria, compelling them to open up their platforms and services to other companies and developers. In the case of Apple, this could mean allowing third-party apps like Meta’s WhatsApp to integrate directly with iMessage.

However, Apple contends that iMessage does not meet the user threshold outlined by the DMA, and therefore should not fall under its purview. While analysts estimate that iMessage boasts an impressive user base of approximately one billion globally, Apple has not disclosed official statistics for the service in recent years, nor has it provided specific numbers for European users. Whether iMessage will be included on the EU’s initial list of gatekeeper services will depend on how the market in which it operates is defined.

The potential implications of the DMA extend beyond iMessage and could lead to significant changes in the way other Apple services function, such as the App Store, FaceTime, and Siri. As a result of the DMA’s requirements, Apple is expected to introduce support for sideloading apps from sources outside of the App Store on iPhones and iPads in Europe through an update to iOS 17 later this year.

The inclusion of iMessage and the potential changes to Apple’s services under the DMA highlight the ongoing debate surrounding the power and control exerted by tech giants. With the rising demand for greater competition and openness in the digital marketplace, regulatory measures like the DMA aim to level the playing field and encourage innovation from all actors in the industry.

In conclusion, while Apple argues that iMessage does not meet the criteria to be classified as a “gatekeeper” under EU law, discussions surrounding its potential inclusion on the EU’s initial list of regulated services are ongoing. The outcome will have significant implications for Apple’s services and could mark a transformative shift towards more open and competitive digital ecosystems.