Google has joined forces with major European carriers to write a letter to the European Commission, urging the designation of Apple’s iMessage as a “core platform service.” The goal is to require Apple to make iMessage compatible with RCS, similar to WhatsApp and Google Messages, by March 2024.
As reported by the Financial Times, key supporters of this initiative include Google, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and Orange.
The request stems from the EU’s implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in August, aimed at regulating the market power of larger companies and fostering increased competition in the EU digital sphere. This regulation identifies significant entities as gatekeepers, defining them as large digital platforms with over 45 million active users in the EU and €7.5 billion in annual revenue. Should iMessage be classified as such a platform, Apple will be mandated to ensure its compatibility with other messaging platforms by March 2024. Apple has countered this by claiming that iMessage lacks 45 million active users in the EU and thus does not meet the specified criteria.
Google and major European carriers argue that iMessage does satisfy the Digital Markets Act’s criteria, and are pressing the European Commission to compel Apple to enable interoperability with other messaging apps. The EU’s regulatory body is investigating iMessage based on the assumption that it indirectly contributes to Apple’s revenue.
A decision is expected by February 2024, and if iMessage is deemed a core service, Apple will be required to resolve the green-bubble-blue-bubble issue in the EU definitively.