Apple to argue iMessage isn't all that popular as it tries to skirt EU gatekeeper laws

fix pictures not appearing in text messages. Messages app on iPhone
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Apple is reportedly trying to convince the European Union (EU) that not enough people use iMessage to put it in the crosshairs of the bloc's new gatekeeper rules.

The EU is set to announce a list of companies and services that will be placed on a list of gatekeepers on September 6, and Apple is keen to ensure that iMessage doesn't find its way onto it.

Microsoft is reportedly also working to ensure that its Bing search engine won't be added to the same list, arguing that its market share is comparatively low when placed beside the main competition in the shape of Google.

Digital Markets Act

The Financial Times reports that Apple believes that iMessage doesn't meet the Digital Markets Act's threshold of 45 million monthly active users at which it would be added to the gatekeeper list. Apple hasn't publicly said how many people do actually use the messaging service, however, but that might be about to change.

Companies and services added to the list will have to meet new interoperability rules which could potentially see things like iMessage opened up in ways Apple would prefer didn't happen. A future where iMessage, WhatsApp, and other instant messaging apps are all available in one app and across multiple networks is something that Apple is likely to fight against.

However, Apple is already working to deal with other aspects of the DMA. It's thought to be planning changes that would allow third-party app stores on the iPhone and iPad, for example.

Those added to the gatekeeper list will have until March 2024 to comply with the DMA's requirements. Apple and Microsoft are far from the only ones impacted, of course, with the likes of Amazon, Meta, Alphabet, and others also very much in the sights of the  EU's growing competition laws.

All of this is a distraction Apple could do without as it gets ready to announce the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineups on September 12.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.