Google built an entire campaign around shaming Apple for not supporting rich communication services (RCS), a protocol that improves SMS and MMS messages created for Android devices.
Now the company has partnered with some of Europe’s largest telecommunications operators, requesting that Brussels designate iMessage as a core service that would require Apple to make the chat app fully compatible with rivals.
Heads of telecom companies — Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Orange — argue that iMessage meets the threshold for being a core platform service under the Digital Markets Act and should require Apple to comply.
Adding the service on the list of services means that companies would be able to connect seamlessly with competitors such as WhatsApp.
The Digital Markets Act is intended to prevent “gatekeepers” from imposing unfair conditions on businesses and end users and create and ensure the openness of important digital services.
Companies designated as gatekeepers include Google's parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, TikTok's parent ByteDance, Facebook and WhatApp's parent Meta, and Microsoft.
The letter, seen by the Financial Times, claims Apple’s service meets the qualitative thresholds of the act. It therefore should be captured by the rules to “benefit European consumers and businesses,” they wrote.
“it is paramount that businesses can reach all their customers taking advantage of modern communications services with enriched messaging features,” the letter says.
Through iMessage, the letter explains, business users are only able to send enriched messages to iOS users and must rely on traditional SMS to all the others.
Apple users today communicate via iMessage, which is shown by text in the signature “blue bubble.” When customers using Google’s Android software join an iMessage chat group, the messages change color to green. Android users lose some functions, such as the quality of videos and photos.
As part of the EU probe, Apple has argued that iMessage should not be included in the rule because users do not pay directly for its use and its devices can be used without the messaging app, according to documents released by the commission.