In a letter to the European Commission, Google and other telecom companies said they want Apple’s iMessage service to be classified as a “core platform service” under the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act, DMA. The Commission is currently investigating whether iMessage meets the requirements to be regulated under DMA rules, according to The Verge via The Financial Times (a paywalled publication.)
Placing iMessage under the DMA regulations would mean Apple would have to adopt the RCS cross-platform messaging standard that other messaging apps have, making the service interoperable with other devices. That would mark a big change to Apple’s iMessage service, which separates iPhone users with blue bubbles and non-Android users as green bubble standard text messages.
The letter, reportedly signed by an unnamed Google senior vice president and the CEOs of Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and Orange, said iMessage qualifies as a core platform service under the DMA because Apple’s annual revenue is over €7.5 billion (about $8 billion), and it has at least 10,000 monthly active business users in the EU.
The European Commission considers Apple a “gatekeeper” along with Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Amazon, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft. The DMA defines a gatekeeper as an entity that provides an important gateway between businesses and consumers. The letter reportedly argues that this is justification for gatekeeper status.
“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 letter reportedly reads.
Apple has reportedly argued that iMessage isn’t popular enough and lacks “business-focused features like APIs” to be considered a core platform service. The tech giant pointed The Financial Times to a statement that says, “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.”
While it’s possible for Android users to text with Apple users, there are issues. For example, when an iPhone user sends a video to an Android phone, the quality makes the video almost impossible to view clearly. The lack of interoperability could cause problems for Android and iPhone users attempting to communicate — particularly in a business setting.
Apple wasn’t immediately available for comment.