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Google & Major Telecos Say iMessage Should Be Compatible With Rivals

Prompted by Google and some of Europe’s largest telecoms operators, the European Commission, is being asked to look into if Apple’s iMessage should be categorised as a “core” service, making it to be fully compatible with rivals.

Now, the European Commission is probing whether iMessage ought to be on a list of services that must observe the new Digital Markets Act, which would make the tech giant to enable iMessage to connect easily with competitors.

As of now, iMessage is exclusively used by Apple users, popular with young customers, and has about 1 billion global users, but if the tech giant does have to conform, the signature blue bubble may be made obsolete if it has to default to standard SMS.

Competitors have long attempted to break iMessage’s exclusivity to Apple’s hardware in the past, which they hope could entice consumers to switch to its devices, but now businesses such as Google, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and Orange, have signed a document claiming Apple’s service should be included in the act and that the new rules, should iMessage beholden to the, would “benefit European consumers and businesses.”

The rules include tech businesses with €7.5 billion in annual revenue and over 10,000 active monthly business users in the EU, but regulators have judgement to go outside of these metrics.

In response to the case, Apple told the 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, antitrust regulators disagree and say iMessage is “an important element of the expansion of Apple’s ecosystem”.

The companies prompting the probe argue that consumers would benefit due to the designation because “enriched messaging” is only accessible between Apple users.

“It is paramount that businesses can reach all their customers taking advantage of modern communications services with enriched messaging features,” Google and the other Telco companies wrote to the commission. “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.”

The commission has not released a comment but said the investigation into iMessage was ongoing and a decision should happen by February 2024.

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