Google versus Apple: The battle for open mobile communications, iMessage for Android too?
Google is pulling out the heavy artillery in its fight for an open RCS communications standard against Apple’s closed iMessage system. The long-running feud between the tech giants is taking a new turn, thanks to Europe’s new Digital Markets Act, which came into force in May 2023.
Major European operators, including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange, have teamed up with Google in an effort to persuade Apple to release its closed iMessage communications system. The system, exclusive to iPhone users, identifies conversations with iMessage users with a blue bubble, while messages from Android users are marked with a green bubble.
Google argues that iMessage, unlike WhatsApp and Messenger, does not have a sufficient number of active users in the European Union (45 million) and thus does not meet the criteria to be included among the essential services covered by European regulation.
These unexpected alliances and regulatory tools are a serious challenge for Apple. Even though iMessage has numerous users, Google and European operators may be strong enough leverage to force the European Commission to reconsider the status of iMessage.While EU regulators are examining whether iMessage actually contributes to Apple’s revenue, a final decision is expected in February 2024. If iMessage is deemed an essential service, Apple would be forced to ensure cross-compatibility with other messaging platforms. For users, this would mean an end to the separation of the blue and green bubbles and open the way for communication across different mobile devices.
Source photo: www.pexels.com
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