Google wants Europe to regulate iMessage as a gatekeeper
Google wants Europe to regulate iMessage as a gatekeeper

Google wants Europe to regulate iMessage as a gatekeeper

Google wants Europe to regulate iMessage as a gatekeeper

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The European Commission is currently investigating whether iMessage should fall under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and therefore be subject to interoperability rules. Google and local carriers have sent a letter to regulators in Europe arguing that iMessage should be considered a “core” service.

Apple made the argument this year that iMessage is (apparently) not big enough to be considered a gatekeeper service under DMA’s user thresholds (45 million monthly active users in the European Union). Regulators are currently investigating and have until February to make a decision on whether iMessage will join Meta’s WhatsApp and Messenger as a gatekeeper. 

According to the Financial Times, executives from Google, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange — Europe’s biggest carriers — argued recently that iMessage be included. If so, it would have to be interoperable with competing messaging services, which would “benefit European consumers and businesses.”

“It is paramount that businesses can reach all their customers taking advantage of modern communications services with enriched messaging features,” the letter, which was confirmed by multiple sources, added. “Through iMessage, business users are only able to send enriched messages to iOS users and must rely on traditional SMS for all the other end users.”

Meanwhile, Google is preparing for this possibility and in July announced its support for an interoperable end-to-end encrypted communication standard: the Internet Engineering Task Force‘s Message Layer Security (MLS) specification RFC 9420. It plans to integrate the MLS protocol into Google Messages and Android.

When Android devices communicate with the iPhone, it happens over SMS. Google has long called for the iPhone to support RCS so that these cross-OS conversations have rich features like read receipts, typing indicators, and higher-quality images.

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Of course, this gatekeeper regulation would only apply in Europe and Apple would not have to allow iMessage interoperability in other countries, like the US, where the green bubble phenomenon is more prevalent.

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