The European Union on Thursday night unveiled more details about its plans to curb anti-competitive practices among big tech companies. With the rules of the new Digital Markets Act (DMA), Europe wants all major messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage to have an interoperable platform.
The DMA targets companies that have at least 45 million monthly active end users or 10,000 annually active corporate users in Europe. While the antitrust legislation was already expected to have impacts on how the App Store operates, it may also cause changes to Apple’s iMessage.
As reported by TechCrunch, EU lawmakers have agreed that the major messaging apps available in Europe will have to “open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms.” In other words, Europe wants an iMessage or WhatsApp user to be able to send messages to a Signal user, or any other combination of apps you can think of.
Users of small or big platforms would then be able to exchange messages, send files or make video calls across messaging apps, thus giving them more choice. As regards interoperability obligation for social networks, co-legislators agreed that such interoperability provisions will be assessed in the future.
The legislation will also require companies to ask for users’ explicit consent to collect personal data for advertising, and their platforms will have to let users freely choose which web browser, virtual assistant, or search engine they want. This, of course, must become a concern for Apple since the company restricts some of these options in iOS.
For now, the legislation has yet to be finalized and approved by Parliament, so we’ll have to wait a bit more until a final decision is made.
Last year, Google suggested that Apple should adopt RCS in iOS, which is a new universal messaging protocol that enables rich communications. While Android already works with RCS, Apple has never shown interest in adopting the protocol, as it would bring some of iMessage’s features into conversations with Android users.
If the EU approves DMA, Apple might be forced to add RCS support to its devices to comply with the new legislation. You can find more details about the legislation on the European Parliament’s website.
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