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EU to force iMessage to be ‘interoperable’ with other messaging apps

The European Union could force Apple to open up iMessage to allow users of other messaging applications to sent texts, media and make calls across platforms.

An agreement was reached in the European Parliament late on Thursday night pertaining to the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) that will seek to check the power of the biggest tech companies to monopolise services.

As part of the clampdown on perceived anti-competitive behaviour, the EU wants all of the major messaging platforms to become interoperable. That means you could send messages from iMessage to a WhatsApp user, or you could video call an iMessage user to a Signal user or vice versa.

The idea is to give users more choice without limiting which apps they could use. So, if you’ve wanted to quit your iPhone, but are worried about leaving iMessage behind, this could conceivably be helpful.

Or if you’ve thought about finally ditching all of the Facebook-owned messaging apps in order to rely on Signal, but are worried loads of your mates aren’t on there, then this could be helpful.

“The Digital Markets Act puts an end to the ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech companies. From now on, they must show that they also allow for fair competition on the internet. The new rules will help enforce that basic principle. Europe is thus ensuring more competition, more innovation and more choice for users,” said Andreas Schwab, of the European Parliament, in a statement (via TechCrunch).

Trusted Take

What the politicians have, in their infinite wisdom, decided may be an actual minefield in terms of putting into action. There’d be all manner of formatting issues to contend with, for instance. Google is only just figuring out how to handle iMessage “reactions” after years upon years of showing them as text strings. You’d imagine this problem would be exacerbated tenfold if every messaging app becomes interoperable.

The politicians also don’t seem to have considered the ramifications of where those messages are going. Perhaps iMessage users don’t want to send and receive messages to Messenger, for example. Where does that data go? Who owns it? Does Meta have access to it? There are more questions than answers right now and the solution is potentially more problematic than the remedy.

From a personal perspective, I’m as pro-European as they come, but the EU can leave my beloved iMessage exactly as it is, thank you very much.

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