Google wants EU regulators to force Apple to open up iMessage

Daniel Sims

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In context: Google, Meta, and other message service operators have long fought to convince Apple to make the advanced features of iMessage interoperable with competitors. The Cupertino giant hasn't budged so far, but European regulators could force its hand if Google and a few telecoms get their way.

Google and some of Europe's largest telecoms have asked the European Union to designate Apple's iMessage as a "gateway" platform under its recently passed Digital Markets Act (DMA). The designation could force Apple to offer iMessage on non-Apple devices and operating systems, making its advanced features compatible with other messaging services and perhaps most importantly, breaking iMessage exclusivity.

iMessage features end-to-end encryption and other advanced communication features so long as everyone in a conversation is using Apple devices. Anyone chiming in with a non-Apple device reverts to unencrypted SMS or MMS messages, signified by a "green bubble."

The restriction has long irritated companies like Google and Facebook because it establishes a wall between Apple's service and everyone else's. Messages on Android, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp (also owned by Meta) all operate across devices, and they've used this to chastise Apple.

Epic Games also criticized Apple's policy during their legal battle in 2021, claiming the company used iMessage to lock users inside its walled garden. The Fortnite maker accused the iPhone company of admitting in internal emails that bringing iMessage to Android would hurt hardware sales by removing a significant barrier stopping iPhone-owning parents from buying their children Android devices.

Apple may not have a choice pending an EU investigation. The DMA, which European regulators passed late last year, is designed to fight large walled gardens. It requires "gatekeepers" – platforms or services that provide critical functions for a significant number of businesses and users – to maintain a certain degree of openness and interoperability with competitors.

The EU recently designated products and services like iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome, Safari, YouTube, Google Search, TikTok, and many others as gatekeepers. Apple has acknowledged that the law might force it to make its mobile operating system and App Store more open, which it has previously vehemently opposed.

Google and telecom operators Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Orange recently sent the European Commission a letter asking it to apply the same rules to iMessage. The regulator is currently considering the move, but Apple argues its platform isn't popular enough to earn the gatekeeper label.

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I feel like google, Facebook, might be shooting themselves in the foot here.

If Apple turns around and goes “ok, here’s iMessage for android and Windows”

Surely that’s just increasing competition? Will more people migrate from WhatsApp to iMessage? Will Signal users leave to go iMessage?

The Fortnite maker accused the iPhone company of admitting in internal emails that bringing iMessage to Android would hurt hardware sales by removing a significant barrier stopping iPhone-owning parents from buying their children Android devices.

How is that a barrier? Signal, WhatsApp, Messenger, Teams, good old SMS, there’s soo many ways to connect between platforms.

Who on earth bases their entire platform choice on iMessage? “I was gunna pickup the latest Pixel phone because it literally ticks every box but it doesn’t do iMessage so I never bothered”.

Please don’t tell me that was someone’s actual train of thought.
 
Who on earth bases their entire platform choice on iMessage? “I was gunna pickup the latest Pixel phone because it literally ticks every box but it doesn’t do iMessage so I never bothered”.

Please don’t tell me that was someone’s actual train of thought.
There are people (and I have personally heard the reason) that they "need to get an iPhone because everyone else is telling them to use iMessage".

It's such a stupid status symbol in North America. You'd think that the worst messaging app (if only because of how few platforms it supports) wouldn't be so popular...
 
There are people (and I have personally heard the reason) that they "need to get an iPhone because everyone else is telling them to use iMessage".

It's such a stupid status symbol in North America. You'd think that the worst messaging app (if only because of how few platforms it supports) wouldn't be so popular...
Ah, I always forget that North America is mostly iPhone users. Are people seriously incapable of using a different messaging app?

Imagine if Android sales started going up purely because iMessage was now available on it, only in North America could something that bizarre happen.
 
I think this would be great, ultimately to help people move away from the massively overpriced laptops. I think iMessage on the computer is really what keeps some people on Macs, and I could really see a nice advantage to having it on the computer.
 
I think this would be great, ultimately to help people move away from the massively overpriced laptops. I think iMessage on the computer is really what keeps some people on Macs, and I could really see a nice advantage to having it on the computer.
Sorry, what am I reading right now, people pick their laptops based on if iMessage is available or not? Incredible.
 
I feel like google, Facebook, might be shooting themselves in the foot here.

If Apple turns around and goes “ok, here’s iMessage for android and Windows”

Surely that’s just increasing competition? Will more people migrate from WhatsApp to iMessage? Will Signal users leave to go iMessage?



How is that a barrier? Signal, WhatsApp, Messenger, Teams, good old SMS, there’s soo many ways to connect between platforms.

Who on earth bases their entire platform choice on iMessage? “I was gunna pickup the latest Pixel phone because it literally ticks every box but it doesn’t do iMessage so I never bothered”.

Please don’t tell me that was someone’s actual train of thought.
iMessage has a huge install base because it was one of the early encrypted messaging apps, and as much as peopel bang on about signal or whats app or whatever, they do not make up the majority on android.
Ah, I always forget that North America is mostly iPhone users. Are people seriously incapable of using a different messaging app?

Imagine if Android sales started going up purely because iMessage was now available on it, only in North America could something that bizarre happen.
Why use a different messaging app? imessage just works, and comes by default on over half of devices sold in america.
 
Apple users showing their blind love for Apple - oh it's great you don't give those poor lower class Android users imessage - ew imagine chatting with them

Thank you Apple for keeping us all safe - go away nasty Android untouchables

Reminds in of Americans travelling going to McDumps in other countries

Oh thank you great McDumps - protecting me your all those weird foods and different nasty stuff ew

Stockholm syndrome is strong in Apple users -Mummy knows bests
Nurse Ratched:
"You know Billy, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this?"
iSheep:
Um, um, well, y-y-y-you d-d-d-don't have to t-t-t-tell her, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched:
I don't have to tell her? Your mother and I are old friends. You know that.
iSheep:
P-p-p-please d-d-don't tell my m-m-m-mother. ( a-a-a-apple )
 
iMessage has a huge install base because it was one of the early encrypted messaging apps, and as much as peopel bang on about signal or whats app or whatever, they do not make up the majority on android.
Then what do people use in North America on Android? Someone chime in on my side of the pond here but I don't know anyone, I mean anyone, not using at least one WhatsApp, Signal, Messenger, SnapChat, Instagram, Discord or bog standard SMS.
I'm talking from the UK mind you, based on my interactions with friends, colleagues and clients around Europe, it's a similar situation with WhatsApp being the most popular.
Why use a different messaging app? imessage just works, and comes by default on over half of devices sold in america.
What do you mean, why? So I can message the person I'm trying to contact? Could you imagine, my girlfriend buys a Pixel and I just outright refuse to message her now she doesn't have iMessage.

Also "just works"? What are you on about? It literally only works on Apple devices, it works very well on Apple devices, but it's far from "just works" if you can't use it on anything else. The entire point of this article is show how much it currently doesn't work.
I'd also argue SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snap Chat also all "just work". Signal does as well, even though it kinda makes moving phone a bit painful thanks to actually being secure.
 
People buy Apple, people buy Android your choice. Could Apple offer an iMessage app and charge for it? They probably have thought about this.
 
Sorry, what am I reading right now, people pick their laptops based on if iMessage is available or not? Incredible.
Yes. I know, it's dumb, but yes. Had someone come to me last week with a damaged Mac and said how it was hard for her to buy a new one. I tried to convince her to get a much more reasonably priced PC and her reasoning was that she couldn't use iMessage.
 
Then what do people use in North America on Android? Someone chime in on my side of the pond here but I don't know anyone, I mean anyone, not using at least one WhatsApp, Signal, Messenger, SnapChat, Instagram, Discord or bog standard SMS.
I'm talking from the UK mind you, based on my interactions with friends, colleagues and clients around Europe, it's a similar situation with WhatsApp being the most popular.
Every android phone can do SMS out of the box. If you are texting, you use whatever comes on your phone. For carrier phones that is usually their branded app, if its an unlocked phone, then either the stock google SMS app or the samsung app. There's also social media apps, like snapchat, insta, or discord, which are used by friends.

Signal, whatsapp, or other secure messengers are only used by a small minority of users. Cant say in all my years as a tech I've ever met someone who used them who wasnt also a techie.

What do you mean, why? So I can message the person I'm trying to contact? Could you imagine, my girlfriend buys a Pixel and I just outright refuse to message her now she doesn't have iMessage.

Also "just works"? What are you on about? It literally only works on Apple devices, it works very well on Apple devices, but it's far from "just works" if you can't use it on anything else. The entire point of this article is show how much it currently doesn't work.
I'd also argue SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snap Chat also all "just work". Signal does as well, even though it kinda makes moving phone a bit painful thanks to actually being secure.
If you are an apple user, imessage just works. For apple users, it is encrypted, for android recipients it uses SMS. So for an apple user, there is 0 reason to use another app. It just works. In the US the lions share of androids are samsungs. They use either the samsung app or the default android app, both of which can communicate via SMS with any apple device without issue.

So, what are you on about? Since when does iMessage not allow contact with android users?
 
Every android phone can do SMS out of the box. If you are texting, you use whatever comes on your phone. For carrier phones that is usually their branded app, if its an unlocked phone, then either the stock google SMS app or the samsung app. There's also social media apps, like snapchat, insta, or discord, which are used by friends.

Signal, whatsapp, or other secure messengers are only used by a small minority of users. Cant say in all my years as a tech I've ever met someone who used them who wasnt also a techie.


If you are an apple user, imessage just works. For apple users, it is encrypted, for android recipients it uses SMS. So for an apple user, there is 0 reason to use another app. It just works. In the US the lions share of androids are samsungs. They use either the samsung app or the default android app, both of which can communicate via SMS with any apple device without issue.

So, what are you on about? Since when does iMessage not allow contact with android users?
Ok, that response alone, I see the issues North America has now, Incredible.
 
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