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After the report of alleged protest for being considered as a gatekeeper service, the European Union has now removed Apple‘s iMessage from its list. Although temporary, this saves the messaging service from the initial impact of the EU’s Digital Markets Act.
The news follows the news involving Apple and Microsoft contesting the idea of iMessage and Bing being labeled as gatekeeper services in the EU market. As reported previously, a service would be given gatekeeper status if it exceeds 7.5 billion euros annually or has a market cap beyond 75 billion euros. Aside from that, the position requires a platform to 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. Despite that, it seems this is the section Apple used for its argument, leading to its removal from the DMA list temporarily.
Microsoft is also reportedly spared, pushing the EU to focus on other big techs in the market, including Meta, Google, and Amazon. It doesn’t mean, nonetheless, that Apple and Microsoft will now be generally safe. Despite dropping iMessage and Bing from the list, the EU designated App Store, Safari, and iOS as gatekeeper platforms in its market. They now belong to the 22 services listed by the EU — including Amazon’s marketplace, Alphabet’s Google Search, and Bytedance’s TikTok — that are expected to comply with the DMA rules. That means companies that own them will be forced to open their platforms to third-party competition by stopping favoring their products. According to the EU, failure to do so could result in “behavioral or structural remedies” or a 10% global turnover fine or a 20% penalty for repeat violations.