EU Considers Excluding IMessage From Interoperability Regulation, Bloomberg Reports


The European Union’s upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulation could grant Apple’s iMessage a reprieve from being interoperable with other messaging apps, according to a report by Bloomberg. Citing anonymous sources, the report suggests that the EU tentatively concluded that iMessage is not widely used among business users, potentially exempting it from the interoperability requirement set to impact other major messaging services.

Key Takeaway

Apple’s iMessage might be exempt from the EU’s interoperability requirements, as the service is deemed not popular enough among business users. While the final decision is yet to be made, it is unlikely that iMessage will become interoperable with other messaging apps. Apple’s recent adoption of the RCS protocol aims to enhance messaging capabilities for Android users but leaves the green bubble versus blue bubble debate unresolved. Meanwhile, other companies are exploring ways to bring iMessage to Android through reverse-engineering and limited implementations.

Final decision still pending

While the decision has not been finalized, Bloomberg’s sources claim that the EU does not plan to ask Apple to make iMessage compatible with other messaging platforms like Messenger or WhatsApp. The DMA, set to take effect in 2024, aims to enforce interoperability in larger messaging apps. However, iMessage was not included in the initial list of services covered by the DMA, which currently affects iOS, the App Store, and Safari.

Apple’s adoption of RCS

Last month, Apple announced its plans to adopt the Rich Messaging Service (RCS) protocol, an upgrade to SMS/MMS, in the coming year. This move will enable Android users to share high-resolution photos and videos, but conversations will still appear as the familiar green bubbles. Therefore, the ongoing debate of green bubbles versus blue bubbles will likely continue.

Apple’s stance on iMessage

While Apple has been hesitant to embrace RCS in the past, it seems unlikely that iMessage will become compatible with other platforms anytime soon. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s previous response to a complaint about video resolution compatibility with iMessage was “buy your mom an iPhone.” Despite this, some startups are actively working on solutions to bring iMessage functionality to Android devices, such as Beeper and OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s company, Nothing, also attempted a similar project called Sunbird, which had to be halted due to security implications.

Interoperability preparations by Meta

Alongside these developments, Meta (formerly Facebook) has reportedly begun preparing WhatsApp for interoperability. This information was discovered within the app’s code by WABetaInfo, suggesting that Meta is taking proactive steps to ensure compliance with the upcoming DMA regulation.

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