Apple's iMessage app and Microsoft's Bing and Edge browsers will not face strict restrictions from the European Union.
Jaap Arriens | Nurfoto | fake images
Apple's iMessage messaging service and Microsoft's Bing and Edge search browsers should not be designated as “gatekeepers” under the European Union's strict digital competition laws, the European Commission said on Tuesday.
An investigation investigating the concern has now closed.
The decision is a victory for Apple, whose iMessage service has long faced complaints from Android users due to incompatibilities.
This means that Apple will not have to open its service's messaging infrastructure to alternative producers of Android device manufacturers, to Meta's WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps, or to encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram.
Users have long complained about the fact that Apple displays messages from non-Apple users as green bubbles, unlike messages from other iMessage users that display in blue. Currently, only iPhone users and other Apple devices, such as iPads, can use iMessage.
The EU's competition restrictions will also not apply to Microsoft's Bing and Edge browsers, or to the Redmond tech giant's online advertising service, Microsoft Advertising.
Apple and Microsoft were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
Tuesday's pronouncement does not mean that Apple and Microsoft will not continue to be treated as gatekeepers under EU rules. Its core platform services, such as Apple's App Store and Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, will continue to count as gatekeepers under the DMA, according to a ruling issued in September 2023.
“The decisions do not in any way affect the designation of Apple and Microsoft as gatekeepers on September 5, 2023 with respect to their other core platform services,” the Commission said in a press update on Tuesday.
“The Commission will continue to monitor market developments with respect to these services, should substantial changes arise.”
The EU Digital Markets Act, which came into force on November 1, 2022 and became largely applicable on May 2 last year, imposes a number of strict requirements on large technology platform companies, especially American tech giants like Meta, Apple and Amazon.
The EU has some key targets in its sights, namely companies it designates as “gatekeepers” – companies that are so crucial to web use that competition regulators believe they should open up their services to allow access to competitors. More smalls.
Late last year, the EU unveiled six designated gatekeepers that would be subject to its rules: Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok owner ByteDance.
Some publishers and tech companies say these huge tech companies haven't done enough to effectively engage with them and others in their industry. Apple recently opened its App Store to third-party developers in Europe, which could threaten the iPhone giant's lucrative fees.