Apple arguing iMessage isn't big enough to be EU gatekeeper service

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2023

With just days to go before the European Union's Digital Markets Act designates gatekeepers, Apple is allegedly arguing iMessage isn't popular enough to be classified as a gatekeeper service.

Apple's iMessage
Apple's iMessage



The EU's Digital Markets Act was first proposed in October 2020, but it didn't get official approval until July 2022. The new law became applicable in April 2023, designates gatekeepers on September 6, then goes into effect in March 2024.

A report from Financial Times sourced from two anonymous individuals says Apple and Microsoft are arguing their "flagship services" are not popular enough to fall under the EU's definition of gatekeeper services. Apple is specifically arguing iMessage should not be labeled a gatekeeper service.

The EU is expected to reveal which services fall under its gatekeeper banner in the first week of September. The DMA is meant to throttle perceived monopolistic powers of large tech firms, like Apple, Microsoft, and Google.

If Apple's iMessage does fall under the DMA ruleset, it means Apple will be required to open iMessage to third-party operators. However, how Apple might do that remains to be seen.

To meet the requirements of a gatekeeper service, the EU says it must have at least 45 million monthly active users. The company must also exceed 7.5 billion euros annually or have a market cap that surpasses 75 billion euros.

Apple has confirmed that there are over 1 billion active iPhones in the world. However, the company does not go into detail regarding regions, so it's unknown if iMessage reaches the 45 million monthly active users in the region.

Apple does meet the monetary requirements. There is some chance the iMessage user base is below the 45 million mark in the EU if only because other chat services dominate the region.

Apple allegedly arguing iMessage does not meet the requirements is a change from July. The company, along with Microsoft and others, confirmed the EU's new gatekeeper law applied to them in a blanket statement, but didn't carve out specific services like iMessage before.

Despite Apple's apparent change of heart, the first list of gatekeeper services should be published in September. If iMessage does avoid the list, it does not mean it won't be added in the future.

The App Store is likely to also be included in the EU's gatekeeper services list. Apple has allegedly been working on App Store alternatives for iPhones since 2022.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,125member
    The kind of person introducing these laws to target those that cause them discomfort never stops to think it might one day be applied to them.
    FileMakerFellerwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 40
    entropys said:
    The kind of person introducing these laws to target those that cause them discomfort never stops to think it might one day be applied to them.
    Huh?
    sphericwilliamlondonelijahggrandact73
  • Reply 3 of 40
    You can trust companies to respect the best interest of their customers they said.

    Turns out you can’t,

    Go get em EU
    williamlondonAlex_V
  • Reply 4 of 40
    Is it really that bad that Apple will be forced to allow 3rd party iMessage clients? They should be allowed to limit the number of clients & have strict eligibility requirements such as opensource codebase, but allowing a handful of options for say Android devices, might be the best way to get Google from whining on about RCS
    edited September 2023 williamlondonelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 40
    Just disable iMessage in EU. Simple solution, without risk to the rest of the global users.
    danoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 40
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,215member
    ralphie said:
    Just disable iMessage in EU. Simple solution, without risk to the rest of the global users.
    Except those who want to communicate with EU users, or need to communicate from Europe to other parts of the world using the Messages app.

    You really didn’t think this through, did you?
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamBannedForFreeSpeechAlex_Velijahggrandact73FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 40
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,233member
    I'm really getting tired with the EU's desire to tell every company how they are supposed to operate their products. It's obvious the EU is simply trying to break the security of Messages (iMessage went away a couple versions ago). The EU talks about companies being monopolies yet never look in the mirror to see that the EU is trying to be the monopoly, forcing companies to change to meet the EU's under-informed idea of security. Messages is Apple's product, there's no reason why it should have to be opened to third-party operators. The Eu is like a cartel, trying to run the world. Maybe if an EU company was able to create some software that people actually wanted to use they wouldn't have to try and force a non-EU company to alter their software, creating a front-door to read encrypted messages. We all know this is what they want to do. 
    macxpressAndy.HardwakeappleinsideruserelijahgentropysiOS_Guy80bloggerblogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 40
    chasm said:
    ralphie said:
    Just disable iMessage in EU. Simple solution, without risk to the rest of the global users.
    Except those who want to communicate with EU users, or need to communicate from Europe to other parts of the world using the Messages app.

    You really didn’t think this through, did you?
    I currently use messages app to communicate with others….who don’t use messages app.  
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 40
    If nothing else, future historians will have a fascinating study of the effect these regulations have on the global economy and the EU's performance relative to other states. Perhaps a useful comparison will be to the personal happiness of the citizenry.
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 40
    What exactly does it mean to “open up iMessage to third party operators”?  How exactly would this be good for consumers? Apple doesn’t charge a fee to use iMessage, and you could argue that WhatsApp makes money on their platform by selling user information to third parties.  So what is the purpose of this?  It blows my mind how inept these EU boneheads are with regard to technology.  Are they that stupid, or are they just pissed that none of the major tech names come out of the EU?
    darbus69entropysStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 40
    Kierkegaarden said: Are they that stupid, or are they just pissed that none of the major tech names come out of the EU?
    .

    Yes.
    edited September 2023 Kierkegaardenentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 40
    Living in Germany and being an all Apple household, I still think that if this rule applies to Apple and apple stops iMessage in the EU, the impact is minimal. Apple has only 20 or 30% of the phone market here, and most people use WhatsApp or Signal or Telegram. I tried to live on iMessage for a while, but not being able to talk to 50% of my contacts, even customers, made me go back to WhatsApp (in addition to iMessage). So for the user, forcing the messengers to be available on other platforms is actually a good thing. Being able to use the well integrated iMessage is nicer than the alternatives on Apple, for sure. So good for the public, not so good for Apple. What should be more important to a governing institution like the EU? Oh, remember Internet Explorer, and what happened after the EU forced MS to open up Windows for other apps?
    sphericFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 40
    Alex_VAlex_V Posts: 211member
    A lot of nonsense being expressed about the EU, by those who don’t know and don’t care. Here is basic info on the EU 'gatekeepers law':

    https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-markets-act-ensuring-fair-and-open-digital-markets_en
    sphericmuthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 14 of 40
    Alex_V said:
    A lot of nonsense being expressed about the EU, by those who don’t know and don’t care. Here is basic info on the EU 'gatekeepers law':

    https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-markets-act-ensuring-fair-and-open-digital-markets_en
    That's helpful @Alex_V, yet after reading their rhetoric I'm not really any the wiser. 
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 40
    Alex_V said:
    A lot of nonsense being expressed about the EU, by those who don’t know and don’t care. Here is basic info on the EU 'gatekeepers law':

    https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-markets-act-ensuring-fair-and-open-digital-markets_en
    That's helpful @Alex_V, yet after reading their rhetoric I'm not really any the wiser. 
    There is a downloadable document at the bottom of that webpage, for more information. 
    edited September 2023 sphericmuthuk_vanalingamappleinsideruser
  • Reply 16 of 40
    If apple had done what they originally promised and opened iMessage and Facetime, there wouldn’t be a problem. 
    I’m not a big fan of EU sticking their noses into businesses either, but if they need to be forced to do the right thing… That’s what’s going to happen. It’s the same as with USB-C. If they’d done the obviously right thing years ago, there wouldn’t be a law now. 
    edited September 2023
  • Reply 17 of 40
    Strange that the EU would use an absolute number of monthly users as a gatekeeper definition, instead of a normal marketshare assessment. What if these 45 million users all use five messaging apps in equal proportion - by definition, not all five messaging apps can be gatekeepers. I don't think iMessage will be a gatekeeper App.

    In any case, WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram are widely used in Europe, few users would miss iMessage, they'd just switch to WhatsApp. WhatsApp is well integrated with other Apple Apps. Heck, my iPhone already picks WhatsApp as the default for dictated messages already, even though I prefer iMessage. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 40
    sflagel said:
    Heck, my iPhone already picks WhatsApp as the default for dictated messages already, even though I prefer iMessage. 
    Set your preferred default message app per person by holding the Message button in Contacts
    sflagelwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 40
    sflagel said:
    Heck, my iPhone already picks WhatsApp as the default for dictated messages already, even though I prefer iMessage. 
    Set your preferred default message app per person by holding the Message button in Contacts
    It just gives me a list of possible messaging numbers, no way to set a default. Apple's AI is so smart, when I use the share button on any app, it shows me 12 WhatsApp contacts (some of which I have not messaged in weeks) but not my wife's Messages, which I use 120 times every day......
    edited September 2023
  • Reply 20 of 40
    sflagel said:
    sflagel said:
    Heck, my iPhone already picks WhatsApp as the default for dictated messages already, even though I prefer iMessage. 
    Set your preferred default message app per person by holding the Message button in Contacts
    It just gives me a list of possible messaging numbers, no way to set a default. Apple's AI is so smart, when I use the share button on any app, it shows me 12 WhatsApp contacts (some of which I have not messaged in weeks) but not my wife's Messages, which I use 120 times every day......
    I don't use WhatsApp so I can't actually test. I found info (from 2017) suggesting it learned if you did it a few times: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8008768. Sorry it doesn't work.
    watto_cobra
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