Apparently, Apple’s iMessage Is Not a ‘Gatekeeper Service’ After All

Apparently, Apple’s iMessage Is Not a ‘Gatekeeper Service’ After All

iMessage, once considered an exclusive messaging service for Apple users, was just deemed too lame to regulate by EU officials. The European Commission said it would not regulate iMessage as a “gatekeeper service” on Tuesday, along with Microsoft’s Bing and Edge, which allegedly have a similar level of importance. Oof.

“The Commission found that iMessage, Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising do not qualify as gatekeeper services,” said regulators in a press release Tuesday. “The Commission will continue to monitor the developments on the market with respect to these services, should any substantial changes arise.”

Apple is viewing this decision as good news, welcoming the Commission’s decision in statements made to The Verge.

Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) listed a number of digital services – TikTok, Google Search, Whatsapp, etc. – as gatekeepers in September if they “provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers in relation to core platform services.” The gatekeeper list is full of the internet’s most dominant services, but after a thorough consideration, iMessage will not join this powerful club.

Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Google originally asked the EU Commission to liberate Apple’s blue-bubbled messaging service in November, hoping to let Android users easily message iPhone owners. Apple seems to have caved to Google’s pressure, quietly announcing RCS compatibility in the next era of iPhones. That means Android users will soon have an easier time messaging iPhone owners, though they still won’t get those tantalizing blue bubbles.

Moving forward, Apple’s iMessage system will remain a closed system like it is today. However, with RCS compatibility Androids and iPhones will be able to exchange emoji reactions and message receipts. Apple’s blue bubbles truly seem to be one of the last remaining unique things about iMessage.

Apple is still facing several other claims of being a gatekeeper with other core services. That includes iOS, the App Store, and Safari. iMessage seems to have dodged a regulatory bullet, thanks to its limited social significance.

Apple’s iMessage was once a status symbol that led to Samsung kids getting bullied for their green bubbles. Now, iMessage seems to be on equal footing with archaic internet services like Microsoft Edge. The EU Commission’s decision on iMessage is a signal that blue bubbles may not have the same importance they once did. I’m sorry, but your blue bubbles just aren’t that cool anymore.

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