Google, European Telecoms Giants Call on EU to Force Open iMessage

Google and European telecom groups have urged EU regulators to designate iMessage a "core" service that would force Apple to make the communications platform interoperable with competing chat services, reports the Financial Times.

European Commisssion
In a letter sent to the European Commission, the EU's executive body, the signatories including Google and some of Europe's largest telecoms operators claimed that Apple's service meets the qualitative thresholds of the act, and should therefore be captured by the rules to "benefit European consumers and businesses."

The "fundamental nature" of iMessage as "an important gateway between business users and their customers is without doubt justification for Apple’s designation as gatekeeper for its iMessage service," argued Google, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange in the letter. They said consumers would be better off as a result of the designation because "enriched messaging" is only available between Apple users, according to the report.

Apple declined to comment on the report, but pointed to an earlier statement that said:

"iMessage is a great service that Apple users love because it provides an easy way to communicate with friends and family while offering industry-leading privacy and security protections.

"Consumers today have access to a wide variety of messaging apps, and often use many at once, which reflects how easy it is to switch between them. iMessage is designed and marketed for personal consumer communications, and we look forward to explaining to the commission why iMessage is outside the scope of the DMA."

Apple in September contested the EU regulator labeling them as "gatekeepers" ahead of the publication of the first list of services to be regulated by the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The legislation introduces new rules that apply to services considered to be core platform services and forces them to open up their various services and platforms to other companies and developers. For example, Apple could be forced to allow third-party companies and rival apps like Meta's WhatsApp to integrate directly with iMessage.

However, Apple argued that iMessage does not meet the number of users required for the DMA's rules to apply, and should not be obliged to comply with it. "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," Apple reportedly told the commission.

Analysts estimate that iMessage has as many as one billion users around the world, but Apple has not disclosed any official numbers about the service for several years. Whether iMessage will be included on the EU's initial list of gatekeeper services will depend on how it defines the market in which it operates.

The EU's investigation into iMessage is ongoing, and the European Commission has until February to come to a decision.

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Top Rated Comments

Berti10 Avatar
7 months ago
When I go to Disneyland, I pay to be in a walled garden, pay premium for everything. But that is my choice. I do not need dreamworks and Warner Bros also in there..
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomnavratil Avatar
7 months ago
Users have many messenger choices they can use on both Android and iOS. iMessage is just one option but nobody forces you to use it over Signal, Telegram, Whatsapp, Messenger, Element, SMS or any other platform to be honest. Apple as a company has decided not to open up iMessage fully to Android users to keep it as their USP and that makes complete sense. Users are not forced to use it and many don't (especially in Europe even if 2 people have iPhones, I can tell you that).

Google is trying to push their version of RCS so they can collect more user data and basically take one USP from Apple, as simple as that. They don't care about users.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Berti10 Avatar
7 months ago
Those is ridiculous. They just have a better product and invested in the right technology at the right time.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
centauratlas Avatar
7 months ago
I certainly don't trust the bureaucrats to control the tech particularly since they keep calling for back doors in encryption. Authoritarians like to control and want access to everything. And Google, Meta and others want it for their own nefarious purposes.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Alpha Centauri Avatar
7 months ago
And once again the EU is trying to over regulate. All in the name of advocating for the "good" of consumers.

Note: I actually live in the EU
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
steve09090 Avatar
7 months ago
…and every other communication should be opened up for anyone to use. So much for intellectual property. Google can’t beat them so they try to legislate against Apple. Pathetic move.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)