Apple’s iMessage service could dodge the stringent regulations imposed by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), targeting major tech platforms. A preliminary finding from a five-month-long investigation by a European watchdog, as reported by anonymous sources to Bloomberg, suggests that iMessage may secure an exemption due to its perceived lack of significance as an “important gateway” for business users.
The DMA, a comprehensive law aimed at curbing the dominance of tech “gatekeepers” and preventing anti-competitive practices, has designated nearly two dozen online services owned by prominent tech companies, including Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and ByteDance, as subject to its regulations.
The potential exclusion of iMessage from the DMA’s scope could spare Apple’s popular instant messaging service from the obligation to interoperate with other messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp. If iMessage were brought under DMA regulations, Apple would be compelled to ensure compatibility with rival services, a move the tech giant strongly opposes.
The investigation’s preliminary findings raise questions about whether iMessage truly qualifies as a significant gateway for business users, a factor crucial in determining its regulatory status under the DMA. The exemption could be a result of iMessage not being identified as a platform with the same level of influence over competition as other designated gatekeepers.
This development adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing debate surrounding big tech regulation in the EU. Critics argue that stringent measures are necessary to level the playing field, while proponents of limited regulation contend that certain services, like iMessage, may not warrant the same scrutiny due to their specific characteristics and functions.
As the investigation continues, stakeholders eagerly await the formal announcement of the findings and subsequent decisions by EU regulators. The fate of iMessage within the DMA framework will undoubtedly influence the broader discourse on how tech giants are regulated in the European Union.
Source: The Messenger