For years, Google has been endeavoring to persuade Apple to integrate iMessage. However, a fresh opportunity has emerged through the EU’s Digital Markets Act.
On one billion active devices, Apple’s iMessage is dominant, while Google’s messaging system is not. This is the reason behind Google’s entreaty for Apple to unlock iMessages, and its simultaneous derision and supplication for adding support for the rival RCS system, which Google itself does not endorse and is nonfunctional.
Nevertheless, the new EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) stipulates that companies categorized as gatekeepers must open their platforms to rivals. This presents an advantageous prospect for Google, contingent upon iMessage’s significance in Europe.
Beyond the US, WhatsApp is more prevalent than Messages, and as a result, Apple has sought to argue that it falls below DMA’s usage threshold for gatekeeper status.
According to financial Times, Google, along with executives from carrier companies such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Orange, has jointly appealed to the EU. The letter to EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton contends that “enriched messaging” is only accessible among Apple users.
“It is vital for businesses to be able to reach all their customers using modern communication services with advanced messaging features,” the letter stated. “iMessage restricts business users to sending rich messages solely to iOS users and mandates reliance on traditional SMS for all other end users.”
Hence, the “inherent nature of iMessage as a ‘key gateway between business users and their customers’ undeniably necessitates Apple designating it as the gatekeeper for its iMessage service.”
It remains unclear whether Google references RCS in the complete letter, nor does it acknowledge that “rich messages” can be transmitted via WhatsApp.
Reportedly, Apple declined to comment but redirected the publication to a prior statement on the issue.
In a previous statement, Apple remarked, “Consumers today have access to a variety of messaging apps, and often use several at once, which demonstrates the ease of switching between them.” “iMessage is designed and marketed for personal consumer communications, and we look forward to explaining to the Commission why iMessage falls outside the scope of the DMA.”
As per the financial Times, the EU has only mentioned that iMessages are still under scrutiny. The EU has until February 2024 to make a decision.