Title: Google and Cell Carriers Petition EU to Regulate Apple’s iMessage under Digital Markets Act
In a recent development, Google and several cell carriers have joined forces to lobby the European Union (EU) to designate Apple’s iMessage as a “core” service under the new “Digital Markets Act.” The act targets Big Tech “gatekeepers” and aims to enforce interoperability, fairness, and privacy demands.
Originally, iMessage was not included in the list of services to be regulated. However, it is currently under a “market investigation” by the EU to determine whether it qualifies for regulation. A number of services from tech giants, including Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft, have already been designated as “gatekeepers.”
The criteria for gatekeeper services primarily focus on business usage and include factors such as user numbers, business turnover, and market capitalization. Google and a group of carriers have sent a joint letter to the European Commission, arguing that iMessage should be regulated due to its limitations for business users.
Apple, on the other hand, contends that iMessage is too small to be subject to regulation and is primarily designed for personal consumer communications. It argues that the dominant messaging services in the EU are platforms owned by Facebook, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, leaving iMessage on the edge of regulation.
In response to Apple’s stance, Google has initiated a campaign titled “get the message,” urging Apple to adopt a more advanced form of SMS called Rich Communication Services (RCS). Google believes that RCS offers better capabilities for businesses and should be adopted to enhance user experience.
It is worth noting that if the EU decides to regulate iMessage, it would only apply within the EU and not the United States, which happens to be Apple’s largest market.
The European Commission is expected to make a decision on iMessage by February 2024. If iMessage qualifies for regulation, Apple would be required to comply by August of the same year.
In conclusion, Google and certain cell carriers are diligently pushing for the European Union to classify Apple’s iMessage as a “core” service under the EU’s Digital Markets Act. The decision on whether iMessage should be subjected to regulation is pending, and Apple’s stance revolves around its belief that the messaging service is primarily intended for personal use. The final verdict is expected in early 2024, and it remains to be seen whether iMessage will be included in the list of regulated services.
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