EU Regulators Call For iMessage and WhatsApp Interoperability With Smaller Messaging Platforms

EU lawmakers want to remove the technical limitations of messaging platforms and make them cross-compatible

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Signal vs Telegram vs WhatsApp

Officials from the EU have reached an agreement on the Digital Markets Act. The European Parliament and the Council made landmark rules to counter anti-competitive behaviour by big tech.

According to lead MEP Andreas Schwab, the Digital Markets Act will put an end to the ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech companies and they must show that they also allow for fair competition on the internet.

One of the most significant outcomes of the agreement is that gate-keeper platforms need to meet interoperability requirements, especially for messaging platforms which point out that iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger need to interoperate with smaller messaging platforms if they so request.


The EU statement reads that “Users of small or big platforms would then be able to exchange messages, send files or make video calls across messaging apps, thus giving them more choice. As regards interoperability obligation for social networks, co-legislators agreed that such interoperability provisions will be assessed in the future.”

The EU will force big messaging platforms to interface with smaller messaging platforms which could make Apple allow a conversation to be sent from iMessage and be read by a Telegram or Signal user.

It’s unclear if this law when passed, will allow you to text between iMessage and WhatsApp.

This type of interoperability between messaging platforms will run into the hurdle of end-to-end encryption.

This whole process will begin if a smaller messaging platform requests for interoperability with a bigger messaging platform.

Timelines

EU regulators say that the “gatekeeper” platforms (Companies behind WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or iMessage) will have:

  • Three months for cross-compatible one-to-one messaging
  • Two years for cross-compatible group text messaging
  • Four years for cross-compatible audio or video calls

The lawmakers say that they could fine these gatekeeper companies up to 10% of their global annual revenue. Repeated infringement will cost them up to 20%.

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