EU will require iMessage, WhatsApp to communicate with smaller messaging services

in General Discussion edited March 2022
On Thursday, the European Union announced plans to enact new legislation that would demand major messaging services -- including iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger -- to send and receive messages, calls, videos, and files from smaller competitors.

The rule, part of the larger proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA) would require major messaging platforms to allow their services to work with smaller messaging platforms. Services that would need to work between platforms include sending messages, making video calls, and even sending files.

The rule would apply to any company that has at least 45 million monthly active end users and 10,000 annually active corporate users in Europe as noted by TechCrunch.

Failure to comply with the new legislation could see violators incurring fines of up to 10% global annual turnover or up to 20% for repeat violations.

This has induced questions about the security of such an interoperable platform. Andreas Schwab, the European Parliament's Rapporteur for the file, believes it can be done safely.

"The Parliament has always been clear that interoperability for messaging has to come," Andreas told TechCrunch. "It will come -- at the same time, it also has to be secure. If the Telecoms Regulators say it is not possible to deliver end-to-end encrypted group chats within the next nine months, then it will come as soon as it is possible, there will be no doubt about that."

The legislation would also force platforms to allow users to choose which web browsers, search engines, and virtual assistants they use.

The DMA has yet to be finalized, pending approval of the legal text by the Parliament and Council. Currently, there is no suggested timeline for when implementing interoperable features would need to occur.

Back in November 2020, Big Tech firms, including Apple and Google, were invited to participate in talks about the DMA.

The DMA's primary goal is to curb anti-competitive growth for tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Meta (formerly Facebook Inc.) It is the same legislation that suggested Apple allow alternate app stores to enable fair competition on its platforms.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 38
    It would be useful if messaging apps did talk to each other but it’s hard to see the rationale for forcing it. And as for the noncompliance fine of 10% annual turnover- ridiculous.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,114member
    As long as I could block everything coming from FB...
  • Reply 3 of 38
    So does the EU have ANYBODY in their legislature that has any idea how any of this stuff could be accomplished?

    The only way I know that would allow interoperability between different encrypted platforms would take a can opener to the encryption and would compromise security.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Apple will probably make the bubbles for other chat apps yellow.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    applguyapplguy Posts: 235member
    Wow! That’s one way to limit innovation. It’s one thing to say it, another implementing it. I can only imagine the challenge while maintaining the value each platform provides.

    If this only applies to platforms over 45M users does that mean than new companies don’t need to communicate with main platforms? That could be of value to some users. I don’t understand why the arbitrary 45M and not all messaging platforms. 

    There is also the issue of patents that each platform has or may be licensing. Shouldn’t those patents now become standard essential and subject FRAND? 
  • Reply 6 of 38
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,592member
    It's not just the technical issues involving both the user apps and the iCloud servers, it's also the cost of providing the services. If I were Tim Cook, I would publicly ask the EU how exactly the EU expects Apple to collect money from the companies (and from the users of non-Apple devices) who use iCloud servers to process messages and data.

    Also, this looks like an illegal subsidy to me. Doesn't the WTO get involved to resolve disputes on illegal subsidies? <--

    Actionable Subsidies

    A subsidy granted by a WTO member government is “actionable” under the Agreement (again, certain exceptions are made for agricultural subsidies) if it “injures” the domestic industry of another country, or if it causes “serious prejudice” to the interests of another country. Serious prejudice can arise in cases where a subsidy:

    • impedes or displaces another country’s exports into the market of the subsidizing country;
    • impedes or displaces another country’s exports to third countries;
    • significantly undercuts the price of a “like product” (e.g., an identical or similar product produced by another country; or,
    • increases the world market share of the subsidizing country for a particular primary product or commodity.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    The EC has just been getting too big for their britches - who the heck do they think they are?

    These devices are not designed there or manufactured there - why would they think they can control the design of devices and services for which their citizens are nothing but customers?

    I know the EU thinks they’re the big fish in the sea, but they haven’t been that for several decades.

    They talk about breaking up big tech - do they even realize that none of those big tech companies call the EU home?

    Of course they want to force big tech to do this or that - there is no domestic big tech to lobby against it. And any domestic EU little tech companies are the ones pressing for the changes. “Oh mommy, they're so unfair.”

    It’s rumored that it’s possible that only the iPhone 14 Pro phones will have USB-C (to accelerate transfer of ProRes footage) - if so, maybe Apple should only sell the Pro models in the EU. Let the EC worry about the illegal import of grey market cheaper phones with the oh-so-despised lightning port, and let domestic customers complain to EU authorities that only the higher priced models are sold there.

    As for messaging services - ship phones to the EU with no messaging service installed. Then let EU customers install iMessage from the app store with no changes whatsoever if they want it, allowing the customer to decide for themselves if they want to use a messaging app, and if so which one. If the EU is so hot for universal encrypted messaging services, let them develop it and put it on the app store.

    It’s about time that the EU paid for what they want in everything from defense to consumer goods and services. If they don’t like what’s on offer, then produce it themselves and supplant what’s normally included in the product - no one’s stopping them, and manufacturer’s would probably lend a hand if they did do their own development.
  • Reply 8 of 38
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,192member
    The EU’s barnyard animals to, let’s face it, American companies’ little red hen.

    parasites like all socialists.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    kelemorkelemor Posts: 29member
    SMS/MMS works with iMessage they just happen to be a different color 

    pull iMessage from Europe for 30 days. Make sure the people know it the jack hats ruling them that is causing the outage. SMS or MMS will still work. 

    Sounds like they want a back door with out openly saying or forcing it. Oh this small messaging start needs all your security keys……oh it’s backers yeah that the CIA and MI6

    why do you need to hide stuff if your doing no wrong

    and we ask

    why do you do so wrong and try to hide it. 
  • Reply 10 of 38
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,415member
    This is basically what happens when you allow political entities that have very little to no knowledge about the things that they have power to control to impose their will and influence over such things. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s technology, healthcare, culture, science, delivery of essential services, industry, policing, education, or whatever.

    Allowing politically aligned bureaucratic organizations, most often composed of politically loyal appointees rather than competent professionals, to make widely scoped decisions that impact hundreds of millions of people is totally crazy, but is unfortunately the standard. Giving them the ability to wield blunt instruments of punishment against those who deal in things the ‘crats know so little about is insanity.

    There’s plenty of stupidity to go around, and we see it play out daily around the globe. But on the technology front the EU seems to be vying to be among the very best at their public displays of ignorance and incompetence. I suppose when your home teams no longer have the chops to lead or control certain markets with their technical and business prowess the ‘crats have to resort to other forms of wielding power to show that they are still relevant in some way. In this case, as in pretty much every other case they go after, it appears that their only way is to punish and sabotage those who are being successful at what they do so the losers can get in line to be awarded the highly coveted EU Parliament Participation Trophy. 
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Great, more spam messages.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    bshankbshank Posts: 255member
    Shouldn’t the EU be focused on other things like Nord Stream 2 and what they’re going to do to heat their homes?
  • Reply 13 of 38
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,038member
    I - the owner and end user of my devices - have no interest in playing in the sewer of third party communication, spam and security holes.
    edited March 2022 JaiOh81foregoneconclusionigorskyradarthekat
  • Reply 14 of 38
    Let’s face it, these proposals for side-loading and interoperability are really about one thing — exposing more (and more vulnerable) attack surfaces for surveillance purposes.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    What we are seeing is the homogenization of technology by the EU. No innovation without permission. Hardware is next with government mandating of ports, cables, specs, chargers, power supplies, maybe even SSD and DRAM capacities. The EU could even force Apple’s to cancel the M1 SOC if they mandate slots and upgradeable CPUs, SSDs, DRAM. Unfortunately, many here would just love to see something like that implemented.
    edited March 2022 mike1applguytmayradarthekat
  • Reply 16 of 38
    rgw1469rgw1469 Posts: 12member
    I do not think there is much innovation to be had in rich communication a la iMessage, WhatsApp, etc. I think the EU stepping in and enforcing a standard protocol on the market is fine. The market is mature and they waited until essentially everyone has arrived to nearly the same platform with their own twist anyway. 
  • Reply 17 of 38
    What about end to end encryption? What about spam? Can we block services that are spammy?
  • Reply 18 of 38
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 651member
    The only way I know that would allow interoperability between different encrypted platforms would take a can opener to the encryption and would compromise security.
    That's the point. They've been whining about encrypted messaging platforms for years.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    Hmmm….I wonder who elected these guys?  This is another example of why the EU will eventually fail. Unelected officials that make rules forcing them on other countries. 
  • Reply 20 of 38
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,572member
    bshank said:
    Shouldn’t the EU be focused on other things like Nord Stream 2 and what they’re going to do to heat their homes?
    Shouldn’t you be focused on providing clean drinking water to American citizens and repairing failing bridges and power grids, rather than worrying about what the EU is concerned about? 
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