New EU Law Could Allow Cross-Platform Messaging Between iMessage, WhatsApp and Other Smaller Services

BY Anu Joy

Published 25 Mar 2022


On Thursday, the European Union revealed its plans to crack down on anti-competitive practices among big tech companies. Armed with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the EU wants major messaging services such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger to have an interoperable platform. If and when brought into effect, this new law will completely change how iMessage operates and allow users across different messaging platforms to message each other.

TechCrunch reports that yesterday’s discussion between the European Council, parliament, and Commission led to the agreement that the DMA will apply to “large companies providing core platform services that have a market capitalization of at least €75 billion or an annual turnover of €7.5 billion.” Additionally, companies must also have at least 45 million monthly users in the EU and 10,000+ annual business users to be included in the scope of the DMA.

The EU’s statement notes:

“The largest messaging services (such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage) will have to open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms, if they so request. 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.”

How the Rule Will Affect Apple’s Ecosystem

EU’s rule stipulates that users should be able to freely choose which browser, virtual assistants, or search engine they want to use. This new legislation could radically change how Apple’s services operate as it does not allow these options on iOS. Furthermore, it would be a blow to iMessage, which is restricted to Apple’s devices.

Google has been urging Apple to adopt RCS, a universal messaging protocol, in iOS for the past year. Android has always been a proponent of RCS, but Apple has refused to adopt the protocol to safeguard its lock-in strategy. If the EU’s rule is passed, the iPhone maker will have no choice but to support RCS.

[Via TechCrunch]