Apple’s iMessage should be a ‘core’ service, Google tells EU. Know what it means


Search giant Google and other major European telecom operators including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange have written a letter to the European Commission to regulate Apple iMessage as a ‘core’ platform service under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA), reported Financial Times. 

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In a letter to EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, signed by an unnamed Google vice-president and the CEOs of the five telecoms companies, they argue that consumers would be better off with the ‘core’ services designation because ‘encriched messaging’ is currently only available between Apple users.

The letter written by Google and other telecom operators and seen by The Financial Times read, “It is paramount that businesses can reach all their customers taking advantage of modern communications services with enriched messaging features,” the letter, which was confirmed by multiple sources, added. “Through iMessage, business users are only able to send enriched messages to iOS users and must rely on traditional SMS for all the other end users.”

Apple’s response to the iMessage controversy: 

Technology companies with revenues of more than €7.5 billion and more than 10,000 monthly active business users fall under the preview of the Digital Markets Act. While Apple has more than 10,000 business users, the Cupertino-based company has claimed that iMessage shouldn’t fall under the new rules because users don’t pay directly for iMessage and Apple devices can be used without the iMessage app, the Financial Times quoted documents released by the Commission as saying.

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Apple told the European Commission, “iMessage does not constitute an important gateway in the union for business users to reach end users due to its small scale relative to other messaging services”.

However, the Commission has noted that iMessage does contribute to increasing Apple’s revenue indirectly since the messaging app is pre-installed on the company’s devices and plays an important role in “expansion of Apple’s ecosystem”.

What happens if Apple iMessage is classified as a ‘core service’: 

Under the current system, Apple users can communicate via iMessage with the ‘blue bubble’ texts, while texts from all interactions outside the Apple ecosystem are sent via SMS with the ‘green bubble’.

Switching from the blue bubble to the green bubble also means losing some features such as encryption and high quality pictures and videos.

However, if Apple’s iMessage is designated as a ‘core’ platform service under the EU’s new rules, the company will be forced to make the iMessage service interoperable with other similar messaging apps on the market.








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Updated: 08 Nov 2023, 07:13 PM IST


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