New EU law could require iMessage and WhatsApp to work with other, smaller platforms

New EU law could require iMessage and WhatsApp to work with other, smaller platforms

It is possible that the EU’s newly agreed-upon Digital Markets Act may mandate messaging app developers to make their apps function together. According to the EU news release, MPs agreed that “gatekeeper” businesses like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage must make their programmes “interoperable” with smaller messaging systems.

Here’s the relevant part of the EU’s statement

New EU law could require iMessage and WhatsApp to work with other, smaller platforms

During an 8-hour trilogue, EU parliamentarians agreed that the larger messaging services (including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage) must open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms if they so request. Messages, files, and video conversations might be sent between platforms, offering users more options. Co-legislators agreed that interoperability requirements for social networks would be evaluated in the future.

While the regulation hasn’t been passed yet, the EU’s phrasing might force Apple and Meta to give up services they used to totally control. Example: you can send iMessages exclusively with Apple’s iMessage app on Apple devices. The EU appears to want Apple to allow other messaging apps to communicate with iMessage — for example, an iPhone user communicating with a Telegram user on a Windows PC.

There’s no mention in the press release of whether the big applications will have to function together (e.g., WhatsApp users can send to iMessage or Android green bubble arguments), but the EU says it wants to break down garden walls without bankrupting small firms.

SILOING MESSAGING APPS IS A CHOICE, NOT A TECHNICAL LIMIT Encryption makes achieving this level of interoperability difficult. So, according to an EU spokesman, the final deal will include staggered timeframes to allow varying levels of interoperability. Interoperability for one-on-one messaging may take three months, but group text messaging may take two years, and audio or video conversations four years. The clock starts when a smaller developer asks a gatekeeper for interoperability.