Apple “might” have to open up iMessage

This has immense ramifications for the companies:

EU’s Digital Markets Act will require Apple to open iMessage – Protocol

The Digital Markets Act, which on Thursday was agreed to by European Union authorities, establishes new rules to govern the behavior of tech’s “gatekeepers” — most of them U.S. companies — through measures like forcing the largest messaging apps to exchange texts, video or files with smaller players. Apple’s iMessage and Meta’s WhatsApp in particular would have to open their long-closed ecosystems, making them interoperable with other messaging apps.

I am not sure how the exact solution will pan out. Is it a good or bad thing? This still has to go to vote, but for once, I side with the companies. The EU is deliberately kneecapping the US companies because they don’t have any viable alternative. Matrix and Threema are two prominent applications that have some traction in the continent, and both as “laggards”.

Both applications have a terrible user interface and absolutely zero innovation barring a “privacy clause”. That’s fine, but the development on Threema lags behind WhatsApp. Besides, they are extremely anal about experimentation. They are reduced to mere footnotes in the technology landscape, which would probably be registered as white noise. I am happy about the governments adapting the open source, but these benefits don’t percolate to the common man. There’s no point in breaking encryption, but devising methodologies to create an alternative, and that would force these companies to follow suit. WhatsApp has grown as the default application in mobile phones and works across several devices; each with its set of quirks. I hate to admit, but the vanilla application has a remarkable UI, which makes it accessible to millions of users. Technologically. WhatsApp is the worst, but due to network effects, it is almost impossible to dislodge.


The measure still needs a final vote from the European Parliament and Council, but their approval is all but assured. The agreement applies to services that existing case-by-case competition enforcement have found are “most prone to unfair business practices, such as social networks or search engines,” as well as browsers and messengers. It focuses on companies worth over about $83 billion (75 billion euros).

Let’s wait.

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