EU secures massive new competition law that will completely change iMessage

Messages on iPhone
Messages on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The EU appears to have reached an agreement regarding the Digital Markets Act.
  • New legislation will target big tech companies like Apple for being "gatekeepers" to certain services.
  • The EU is adamant that there should be interoperability between messaging services.

The EU has reached an agreement on its Digital Marketing Act, which will target big tech companies like Apple and could bring about an end to iMessage as we know it.

As reported by TechCrunch:

Late Thursday the European Union secured agreement on the detail of a major competition reform that will see the most powerful, intermediating tech platforms subject to a set of up-front rules on how they can and cannot operate — with the threat of fines of up to 10% of global annual turnover should they breach requirements (or even 20% for repeat violations).

Specific criteria about how many users affected companies must have and how much money they make mean that the scope of the law is targeted squarely at companies like Apple and Meta. Andreas Schwab, the European Parliament's Rapporteur said "The agreement ushers in a new era of tech regulation worldwide. 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."

As the report notes, one of the key requirements of the law that has been agreed upon is interoperability for messaging platforms such as iMessage. Schwab said "the Parliament has always been clear that interoperability for messaging has to come," continuing that it would come but would also have to be secured, specifically outlining end-to-end encryption. The new laws will mean companies like Apple have to open up their APIs for competitors, in order to make basic features work across messaging services, covering basic features including user-to-user messages, video and voice calls, file transfers, and more.

Other requirements of the law will pertain to how many times a platform can ask for your consent for things like tracking for advertising (once a year), and new rules that state you should be freely allowed to choose your internet browser. It could also see a push to open up the tech behind Apple Pay on its best iPhones to other methods of payment besides Apple Pay, as well as provisions against self-preferencing and pre-installing certain software, and finally requiring app developers to use certain services like payment systems.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

4 Comments
  • So in short, if you use iMessage with your friends and family, nothing will change. Good! If you happen to own an Android device and use, say Signal, you now may be able to chat with your friends and family on iMessage. Good!
  • I would love to just use iMessage for all my messaging. Facebook, sms, iMessage, what have you. One app to rule them all Palm had this on webOS, I miss that
  • So what are you advocating? Every app has one interoperable mode (which today is called SMS)? There is one 'app' that has the ability to interact with every proprietary messaging system? Or do you want a single standard that all messaging providers need to adhere to, which is again, at this point SMS.
  • Yeah, later in the day I thought more about this. Not sure how it would work. Is Slack and Discord included here (the EU ruling)? They lose a lot of functionality if so. Each app has done a good job of adding unique functionality (colors, naming group messages, etc.) This sounds a lot like “getting tough on Big Tech” without actually knowing what they are talking about. But I meant one app that has them all. iChat had it. webOS had it. I’d like it again.