New EU rules would force Apple to open up iMessage

Posted:
in iOS
European Union regulators have amended the Digital Markets Act to include new provisions that would compel Apple to make iMessage accessible.

iMessage might get forced open
iMessage might get forced open


The European Council approved the Act in July 2022, a year after it was proposed. It enters into force on May 2, 2023.

The Digital Markets Act contains many restrictions to prevent major tech firms like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google from engaging in anticompetitive activities. For instance, the lawmakers want Apple to allow iPhone users to download apps from outside of the App Store.

The EU is also going after Apple to let third-party iOS browsers use their own rendering engines, as the tech giant currently requires developers to use its WebKit engine from Safari.

The European Parliament and Council still need to approve this aspect of the legislation with lawyers, and then in a final vote. Passage is likely.

Messaging provisions

The most extensive messaging services, such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, will have to open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms.

The result would be allowing users to exchange messages, send files or make video calls across messaging apps. While this is possible through SMS texting, Apple's iMessage service only works on Apple devices.

It's why Apple users might sometimes see green bubbles in the Messages app to denote an SMS text. The iMessage service is a significant reason for the iPhone's popularity among young people in the US, for example.

Apple knows that the exclusivity of iMessage is a significant selling point for the iPhone and has avoided bringing it to Android as a possible reason.

The changes might not be limited to Europe, either. Other countries sometimes follow suit with similar legislation, and it's often easier for companies to apply the changes worldwide.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 103
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    strongymike1baconstangStrangeDaysrob53Dooofustdknoxrhbellmorlolliverroundaboutnow
  • Reply 2 of 103
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 631member
    We are living in a crappy world where innovation can be stolen by the government and then given away. Why create competitive advantages when your competitors can get them for free. Should this happen I hope Apple will allow us to block these other services. I'll accept SMS, but have no interest in getting crap from Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. I do not use these services and anyone who knows me knows my iMessage. Nothing could be worse than getting spam from third party services.
    mike1aaplfanboybaconstangStrangeDaysrob53DooofusmdwrhbellmorlolliverJaiOh81
  • Reply 3 of 103
    strongystrongy Posts: 19member
    I hope the EU is planning to pay Apple to provide this service 
    aaplfanboyrob53rhbellmorlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 103
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,757member
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    croprgatorguysphericFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 5 of 103
    KTRKTR Posts: 280member
    I hope this back fires on the EU.  Also, the they have to make sure they don’t violate apple IP.  Cause this will give apple grounds for law suits.  I HOPE this works in apple favor.  I can case apple building devices where the law does not apply .

    rhbellmorlolliverJaiOh81Andy.Hardwakestrongywatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 103
    2old4fun2old4fun Posts: 239member
    avon b7 said:
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    Not exactly. Lowest common denominator service is available for messaging and it is SMS. Lowest common denominator service for telephone calls is available but higher quality calls with FaceTime Audio offers superior sound between Apple devices. If I want improved services then I can purchase the equipment that provides it. I don’t expect the cheapest auto to provide the best ride because it is on European roads. 
    cm477StrangeDaysbaconstangmacxpressapplebynaturelolliverroundaboutnowfreeassociate2strongywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 103
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,114member
    There's a reason I don't have FB or WhatsCrap on any of my devices.  I would hope i'll have the ability to block anything they send to me.

    At the very least, there would be an indication of the source / type of those messages so they can be deleted before opening.
    cm477DBSyncrhbellmorlolliverJaiOh81watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 103
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,757member
    2old4fun said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    Not exactly. Lowest common denominator service is available for messaging and it is SMS. Lowest common denominator service for telephone calls is available but higher quality calls with FaceTime Audio offers superior sound between Apple devices. If I want improved services then I can purchase the equipment that provides it. I don’t expect the cheapest auto to provide the best ride because it is on European roads. 
    That completely misses the point: interoperability. 

    When I send a package to my parents using Correos Express, there is no 'lowest common denominator' on the delivery side in the other country even if Correos Express doesn't deliver it. 

    SMS is what it is (old) because when it was created that is what was available. The same with POP3 email etc. 

    There is virtually no analogue phone service in Spain. It is VoIP. Quality ultimately depends on many factors. The same with any realtime video/audio transmission. Including FaceTime. 

    FaceTime to FaceTime quality is irrelevant here. As is MeeTime to MeeTime quality. Or any other native protocol.

    spheric
  • Reply 9 of 103
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,917member
    avon b7 said:
    2old4fun said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    Not exactly. Lowest common denominator service is available for messaging and it is SMS. Lowest common denominator service for telephone calls is available but higher quality calls with FaceTime Audio offers superior sound between Apple devices. If I want improved services then I can purchase the equipment that provides it. I don’t expect the cheapest auto to provide the best ride because it is on European roads. 
    That completely misses the point: interoperability. 

    When I send a package to my parents using Correos Express, there is no 'lowest common denominator' on the delivery side in the other country even if Correos Express doesn't deliver it. 

    SMS is what it is (old) because when it was created that is what was available. The same with POP3 email etc. 

    There is virtually no analogue phone service in Spain. It is VoIP. Quality ultimately depends on many factors. The same with any realtime video/audio transmission. Including FaceTime. 

    FaceTime to FaceTime quality is irrelevant here. As is MeeTime to MeeTime quality. Or any other native protocol.

    Again, we already have interoperability, it’s called SMS. Apple invented its own protocol for its own new features which are supported by its devices. There is no expectation that other non-Apple products should be entitled to the same features — they didn’t invent them (but could have). 
    baconstangtdknoxmacxpressDBSynclolliverroundaboutnowAndy.Hardwakedarelrexwatto_cobradanox
  • Reply 10 of 103
    cm477cm477 Posts: 99member
    I can see allowing basic messaging between different platforms, and maybe the sharing of certain media. But I like iMessages because it is NOT these other messaging platforms, and it is secure. No reason for Apple or others to have to share their IP beyond the most basic functions. 
    baconstanglolliverJaiOh81Andy.Hardwakestrongywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 103
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,757member
    avon b7 said:
    2old4fun said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    Not exactly. Lowest common denominator service is available for messaging and it is SMS. Lowest common denominator service for telephone calls is available but higher quality calls with FaceTime Audio offers superior sound between Apple devices. If I want improved services then I can purchase the equipment that provides it. I don’t expect the cheapest auto to provide the best ride because it is on European roads. 
    That completely misses the point: interoperability. 

    When I send a package to my parents using Correos Express, there is no 'lowest common denominator' on the delivery side in the other country even if Correos Express doesn't deliver it. 

    SMS is what it is (old) because when it was created that is what was available. The same with POP3 email etc. 

    There is virtually no analogue phone service in Spain. It is VoIP. Quality ultimately depends on many factors. The same with any realtime video/audio transmission. Including FaceTime. 

    FaceTime to FaceTime quality is irrelevant here. As is MeeTime to MeeTime quality. Or any other native protocol.

    Again, we already have interoperability, it’s called SMS. Apple invented its own protocol for its own new features which are supported by its devices. There is no expectation that other non-Apple products should be entitled to the same features — they didn’t invent them (but could have). 
    Really? How does SMS handle audio, video and images? How does using SMS avoid charges for people who still have to pay for them?

    SMS is an an example of interoperability. Messages using SMS as a fallback option definitely does not mean interoperability. 



    edited March 2023 gatorguyspheric
  • Reply 12 of 103
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,757member
    Dooofus said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    iMessage is neither e-mail nor SMS. It is a proprietary service hosted on Apple infrastructure for Apple customers. Not surprisingly, Europeans imagine they deserve access handed over to them free of charge.
    No one is questioning that it is a proprietary service. 

    Does that mean interoperability is impossible? 

    Of course not. 


    edited March 2023 spheric
  • Reply 13 of 103
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,346member
    Can apple charge for it? 

    If so, then “iMessage is free for iPhone users” could be presented as a perk of buying an iPhone 
    rhbellmorwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 14 of 103
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,259member

    The result would be allowing users to exchange messages, send files or make video calls across messaging apps. While this is possible through SMS texting, Apple's iMessage service only works on Apple devices.

    This is misleading and false. SMS is provided by the mobile carrier network, with endpoints (users) defined by a phone number. Multiple messaging apps can not interoperate using SMS.

    The rest of the apps mentioned are "internet messaging" apps that technically could interoperate, but that would require that each service adhere to a common technical specification for exchanging messages. And users would need to be defined by the app/network that they are connected to.

    [email protected] <---> [email protected]

    Today, we often register with a service by our email address "[email protected]", and that is unique -within- each service. Do we now need to append on the service name?

    [email protected]@facebook.com ??
    [email protected]@imessage.com ??

    Getting ugly, quick.

    edited March 2023 watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 15 of 103
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,425member
    blastdoor said:
    Can apple charge for it? 

    If so, then “iMessage is free for iPhone users” could be presented as a perk of buying an iPhone 
    Apple could make an app for Android and Windows, and keep the platform closed.  And even charge something, as you said.  I suppose that could be an option.
  • Reply 16 of 103
    lewklewk Posts: 25member
    What's pretty screwy about this is that they evidently haven't bothered to talk to their security people.  A lot of government agencies in the US and I suspect in Europe as well, use iMessage because it is encrypted end to end, and considerably more secure than SMS.  I know that I read that the US Armed Forces were using iPhones and iPads as well as Macs more and more due to the better security.

    I suspect that Apple would lose some sales if they simply said they wouldn't support this and stopped selling iPhones in the EU, but I bet people would find still find a way to buy them there - black market, mail order, or having a friend pick one up while on vacation in the USA.

    If you've read about what is coming out in Great Britain about the use of WhatsApp by government officials it is quite an eye-opener.  I'd be amazed if the same sort of thing wasn't happening in the EU.  (They literally laughed at you)
    strongywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 103
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,072member
    This has nothing to do with interoperability. It has to do with the EU breaking end to end encryption. The EU has never been good at providing privacy for their consumers, when it comes to government intrusion of their private data.

     https://www.wired.com/story/dma-interoperability-messaging-imessage-whatsapp/

    The only way to provide end to end encryption between all messaging services (that wants to provide it) and to have true interoperability, is to have all of them use the same encryption protocol. A protocol that I bet the EU government will have the key to.
    edited March 2023 Andy.Hardwakewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 103
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,143member
    Didn’t Apple already open up the iMessage protocols but the industry didn’t care?

    The EU are idiots of the highest levels.
    Illus1vewatto_cobradanoxmattinozstrongy
  • Reply 19 of 103
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    avon b7 said:
    This is daft.

    Its liking saying to UPS, here is a fedex package, deliver it.
    Not really. When you call me from the US, your phone company isn't delivering the call. It's my phone company. 

    Same thing happens with SMS. 

    Dame thing happens with email. 

    The DSA is basically looking for interoperability as an end goal. 

    It’s a service that was created for their devices, not for their competition. Are they forcing Spotify to make their platform accessible to all of the other streaming services since the are the dominant streaming service worldwide wide? Of course not. They think they are actually a European company. 
    strongywatto_cobradanoxFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 20 of 103
    ackpfftackpfft Posts: 38member
    Europe regulates when they have competitively failed.

    One of the few things I appreciated about the prior US administration- but at least they stood up for the US companies and interests.
    watto_cobra
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