EU: Whatsapp and iMessage need to open up to smaller platforms

A new EU regulation is intended to oblige large messenger services such as Whatsapp and iMessage to open up to smaller platforms. But there are also concerns.

The “Digital Markets Act”, DMA for short, is intended to make the digital market in Europe more open and fair, as Appleinsider reports. So-called “gatekeepers”, i.e. dominant companies on the market who can impose their conditions on customers with their closed systems, should be obliged to make their offer more open. Consumers should benefit from this. A definite goal of the new law: messaging platforms should open up to smaller providers.

Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage are probably meant by this. In the future, these services will work with smaller providers to send messages, videos and files and make calls across platforms. All providers who have more than 45 million monthly active end users and more than 10,000 annual corporate customers are to be affected by the regulation.

Failure to comply with the regulation can result in penalties of up to ten percent of the annual turnover, or up to 20 percent for repeated offences.

There are concerns about the security of such a regulation: If two services communicate with each other, there are two possible points of attack. But Andreas Schwab, the rapporteur responsible for this regulation in the EU Parliament, is certain that safe implementation is possible: “It will come – but at the same time it must also be safe. If the telecommunications authorities say that it is not possible, within offering end-to-end encrypted group chats for the next nine months, it will come as soon as possible, no doubt about that.” (opposite TechCrunch),

The DMA also wants to introduce a rule that allows users of all platforms to choose which browser, digital assistant and search engine they want to use.

It is not yet known when exactly the new law will come into force. The draft still has to be approved by the EU Parliament and the EU Council.

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