Digital Markets Act antitrust law includes App Store as Apple fights iMessage

The European Union has named six tech giants whose services will be subject to the Digital Markets Act's antitrust laws, with Apple as one from the so-called “gatekeepers”. The App Store has been confirmed to be covered by the law, but iMessage's status remains under investigation.

In total, about 22 services run by six companies are considered powerful enough to be covered by the law. …

Digital Markets Act (DMA)

DMA is a part of the antitrust law that targets technology companies. The goal is to increase competition in the sector by eliminating some of the advantages of the tech giants.

The idea is that once you reach a certain size in the market, you can effectively use your market dominance to make it difficult for smaller companies to compete. Tech startups in particular may be effectively locked out of some markets simply because established players have such a huge advantage. The EU wants to create a more level playing field.

We previously summarized the initial uncertainty over whether Apple would be affected by DMA before it was decided last year that it was indeed subject to it. law, although it was unclear whether this would apply to the App Store, iMessage, or both.

App Store affected; iMessage is under investigation

The EU has now named six companies covered by the law and confirmed that Apple is one of them. iOS, App Store, and Safari are listed for Apple, but iMessage is not.

Before the companies and services were named, each was given the opportunity to justify why their services should not be covered by the DMA. Apple hasn't argued over the App Store, but has done so over iMessage, saying the messaging service doesn't have enough users.

The EU agreed to defer a decision pending the results of an investigation into the number of users. The legal threshold is a total of 45 million monthly active users across the 27 EU countries. Apple claims there are fewer and will now be forced to reveal actual numbers to substantiate this claim.

What action should Apple take?

App Store

At a minimum, Apple should allow developers to use third-party payment platforms to sell apps and in-app purchases, but more likely it will have to allow third-party app stores to fully comply DMA requirements.

We've known since late last year that the company has teams working on this.

We've known since late last year that the company has teams working on this .

We've known since late last year that the company has teams working on this.


In response to looming regulations in the European Union, Apple has software engineers and support staff working on a project to “allow alternative app stores” on iPhones and iPads. .

The company is said to be devoting “a significant amount of resources to general corporate purposes.”

“As part of the changes, customers will eventually be able to download third-party software to their iPhones. and iPads without using the company's App Store,” the report explains.

Apple will have a maximum of six months to comply.


When it comes to messaging services, a key job of DMA is to allow messages to be sent between competing services – this is called messaging app interoperability.

For example, an iMessage user should be able to send a message to a WhatsApp user and vice versa.


One way for Apple to comply could be to adopt an existing interoperability standard known as enhanced communications services, or RCS. iMessage is already compatible with regular text messages, and RCS is essentially the next generation of text messaging. It is already supported by Google and other companies.

Apple is reluctant to do this because it has long considered iMessage one of the key advantages of the iPhone.

However, at this stage, no action is required from Apple until user number permissions.

iOS and Safari

This list could potentially impact the default apps Apple installs on iPhones before selling them, as well as the fact that competing browsers are forced to use WebKit and therefore cannot offer more speed or functionality than Safari. But the exact requirements here are probably subject to clarification.

9to5Mac's opinion

Top comment from BalrogWing

Liked by 6 people

Even though it's an old standard, wouldn't it make more sense for apps like WhatsApp and others to add an SMS fallback so they can work with the Messages app on iPhone?

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At this point, it seems almost inevitable that Apple will have to allow third-party app stores. The practical impact of this may be limited, as it is likely that most users will continue to make purchases through Apple's own store for peace of mind.

The iMessage experience will be driven by numbers. While it may seem incredible that Apple could have fewer than 45 million active users out of 450 million people in the European Union, the company must have some basis for such a claim.

This is the case when WhatsApp and Facebook are both services Messenger messaging is very popular in the EU (both named in the legislation), so this could allow Apple to prove its point; Let's see.

Photo: Bolivia Inteligente/Unsplash

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