EU wants to force iMessage and WhatsApp to be able to chat with smaller chat apps

EU wants to force iMessage, WhatsApp, and FB Messenger to be able to chat with smaller chat apps
In the last couple of years, lawmakers, especially in the European Union, have been scrutinizing big tech companies. The latest proposal this time is related to instant messaging apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, reports AppleInsider. The EU wants to make those apps forced to send and receive messages, calls, videos, and files from smaller chat apps.

The EU wants iMessage and Facebook Messenger to be able to receive chat messages from smaller competitors

As you can see, this is a part of the European Union's attempts to give space to competition in the tech world, as the EU Parliament has several antitrust proposals going on right now that address this issue. This rule is actually a part of a larger proposal for legislation that is called the Digital Markets Act (DMA) that we've reported on previously.

Interestingly enough, the DMA wants major messaging platforms (like the ones we listed above) to allow their services to work with smaller messaging platforms – pretty much like Google Messages and iMessage can receive and send texts between Android and iPhone users.

This rule, if the DMA gets accepted and turned into law, would apply to any company that sports at least 45 million monthly active users, and 10,000 annually active corporate users. Of course, this is only going to apply in Europe.

And, when we're talking about legislation, it's also key to address what happens to companies that choose not to comply with it (if it becomes law). Pretty much, companies like Apple and Meta, among other tech giants, could be fined up to 10% of their global annual turnover if they fail to comply. If they continue to not comply, the fine can get up to a staggering 20% for repeated violations.

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Okay, that's all fine but you may be asking yourself how can an interoperable platform like that address the issue of security. Well, the European Union thinks that this can be done safely, at least so does Andreas Schwab, the European Parliament's Rapporteur for the file believes (via TechCrunch).

He stated that the Parliament had always envisioned interoperability for messaging. He adds that if the Telecoms Regulators say that it is not possible to deliver end-to-end encrypted group chats within a certain time frame, it will come as soon as it becomes possible. Basically, the EU is willing to wait until end-to-end encryption is put in place to ensure the security of different messaging apps when they exchange messages, photos, videos, and files.

But, as many of you may know, the DMA is not only about messaging. It would also force platforms to give users choice in terms of web browsers, search engines, and even virtual assistants that they use on their devices.

So far, the DMA has not been made final yet. However, it is progressing to becoming law. The act is now awaiting approval for the legal text by the European Parliament and Council, and so far, there is no concrete timeline for when the messaging changes we mentioned above would occur.

In 2020, the EU Parliament invited tech giants such as Apple and Google to participate in talks about the Digital Markets Act.

All in all, the DMA aims to fight against anti-competitive practices that limit innovation and aims to give smaller developers more chances in competing with the big boys. Another thing that the legislation suggests is for Apple to allow alternate app stores on iPhones and iPads, again, for the sake of fair competition.

Recently, there were expectations that the DMA will make it into reality by the end of March. We might be seeing what will happen and if the proposal will become law pretty soon.

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