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Apple reportedly believes that its messaging service iMessage does not fall into the gatekeeper service category of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. In particular, the Cupertino giant seems to argue that its monthly active user count does not meet the EU’s description for the status. Financial Times reported that Microsoft wants to contest the status of its Bing platform. 

The act is part of the EU’s aim to make the digital market “fairer and more contestable” by promoting competition in the platforms of tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Meta, and more. In July, Apple confirmed its general status as a gatekeeper in the EU since it met the $82 billion market capitalization requirement. As per the EU, the law specifically applies to those offering “ore platform service to more than 45 million monthly active end users established or located in the EU and to more than 10,000 yearly active business users established in the EU.” With this, Apple will be one of the companies expected to offer their customers more choices in products and services instead of favoring the ones under their brands. That includes the iMessage, which the iPhone maker insists doesn’t meet the EU criteria.

According to the EU’s standard, a service would be given gatekeeper status if it exceeds 7.5 billion euros annually or has a market cap beyond 75 billion euros. Apple clearly meets this section, but it seems to contest its eligibility for a requirement involving the monthly user count. As the EU defined, a platform must have 45 million monthly active users. Apple has over 1 billion active iPhones worldwide, meaning it could ideally exceed the number since iMessage is pre-installed on the devices. However, there is no data to confirm this since Apple doesn’t publish a report about the monthly active usage of the service among iPhone users.

The report has come ahead of the EU’s announcement of the list of gatekeeper services this week. Once designated, the services are expected to comply with the new rules by March 2024. For iMessage, this means it would that Apple would have to open the messaging platform to third-party services, albeit it is still unclear how this will be implemented. If Apple’s iMessage evades the gatekeeper status this time, it will be saved from such troubles. Yet, it is not a full assurance that it won’t qualify for the criteria in the future. 


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