The EU weighs in: is this the end of iMessage as we know it?

The world of messaging apps as we know it could be about to change. This as long as the new Digital Markets Law (DMA) of the European Union goes ahead.

Last Thursday, March 24, the European Parliament published a provisional agreement between the Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission that would ensure “fair competition and more options for users”.

That would include interoperability with leading messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and of course iMessage. Going forward, iMessage would have to be open and usable with other smaller platforms if requested.

When will the interoperability law come into effect?

For now, only a provisional agreement has been reached, but it is very likely that both the Parliament and the Council will decide to approve these new laws shortly. If so, the new legislation would take effect six months later.

What would the new law mean for iMessage?

If it goes into effect, the European Union says that users “will be able to exchange messages, send files or make video calls between various messaging apps, which would give them more options.”

That means that users should be able to send an iMessage to a user using another less popular messaging app. In this sense, you should not be able to send it to WhatsApp or Facebook, but to Signal, for example.

This could also mean that if you decide to use iMessage as your primary messaging app, these messages you send would also appear on those other smaller third-party platforms that Apple would have to open its doors to.

The new regulation would be welcome for those regular iMessage users who are tired of seeing that, when they send a message to a friend who uses Android, that message becomes a normal and, therefore, paid SMS.

Although there are ways to send iMessages to an Android mobile, for now the solution is not perfect.

What does Apple say?

As you may have imagined, this agreement has not been too good for Apple. In statements to TheVergethe company has assured that they are concerned about what the DMA could mean for the privacy and security of its users.

Apple has also warned that the law “will prohibit them from charging for using their intellectual property, in which we invest heavily.” Furthermore, if you do not comply with the interoperability requirements, you will face penalties of up to 10% of your total turnover (20% in case of multiple violations).