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Apple iMessage isn't popular enough for EU regulation

The European Union is leaning toward exempting iMessage from its antitrust rules.
By
December 6, 2023
Apple iPhone 14 safari imessage
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Apple’s iMessage service is being spared from regulation in the European Union.
  • An investigation found that the service isn’t popular enough among business users in the EU to be deemed an “important gateway.”
  • The EU still plans to investigate Apple’s other services like the App Store, Safari, and more.

Tech giants are facing increased scrutiny from the European Union’s antitrust rules. As the European Commission attempts to rein in these platforms, Apple has managed to escape the EU’s crosshairs for at least one of its services — iMessage.

Currently, the European Commission is looking into a number of Apple’s services to determine if they are affected by the governing body’s antitrust regulation. This includes Apple’s App Store, Safari browser, and iOS, but iMessage was the first to be investigated. After a five-month market inquiry, the European Commission’s watchdogs have determined iMessage should be safe from the rules, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

It appears that the reason why iMessage may earn the pardon is due to its lack of popularity in the area. While the service is extremely popular in the US, it seems the same can’t be said for the EU, at least when it comes to business users. People close to the matter claim that due to its lack of use in business in the EU, investigators don’t think iMessage qualifies as an “important gateway” for business users.

The investigation is reportedly scheduled to conclude in February 2024, so there’s still time for the Commission to change its mind. Until then, the European Commission is still looking into services from other tech giants like Microsoft and Meta. However, some of these companies have reportedly asked the European Commission to double-check if their services should be covered by the Digital Markets Act.

Only a month ago, Apple admitted in financial filings that it would have to open up its platform to rival app stores. It reportedly plans to open those doors as soon as next year.