Apple doesn’t have to open iMessage, Microsoft doesn’t have to open Bing or Edge

Apple doesn't have to open iMessage, Microsoft doesn't have to open Bing or Edge

Il Digital Markets Act (DMA) European market fell like an ax on many online “digital giants”. As we have highlighted in other articles, when a platform or service is labeled as gatekeeper by the European Commission, the companies that develop and manage them are forced to adapt to very stringent requirements.

Gatekeepers designated as such must comply with several obligations described in the DMA. These include the provisions relating to interoperability and data access (openness to competitor tools), the provision of useful tools to promote offers and contracts outside the gatekeeper’s platform, the exclusion of favoritism for one’s own products and services, uninstallation of pre-installed software.

Apple iMessage, Microsoft Bing and Edge escape the European DMA

At the conclusion of four investigations launched in September 2023, the European Commission has established that the software and the messaging network Apple iMessagethe Microsoft search engine Bingil browser Web Edge and the solution for online advertising Microsoft Advertising they cannot be qualified as gatekeepers. All products and services mentioned are therefore exempt from the obligations required by law.

However, the Commission has reserved the right to continue to monitor the market developments of the services mentioned and act accordingly should substantial changes occur.

Microsoft and Apple argued in September that Bing and iMessage should be exempt from the DMA because, in their view, the services are not as widely used. Microsoft reportedly said that Bing only accounts for 3% of all the data for itself traffic of the search enginewhile Apple has not publicly provided specific numbers.

Above all, Apple is gloating because it is no longer required to open iMessage

While overseas the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to open a file on Apple’s decision to block a competitor (Beeper), which had managed to create a unique messaging client, capable of communicating directly with the iMessage platform, allowing owners of Android devices to send of messages to iPhone devices no longer confined to the well-known green bubblein Europe a different path is chosen.

Apple is happy because in the Old Continent the European Commission has actually endorsed its arguments. The company led by Tim Cook will not have to provide third-party developers with the tools to exchange data with the network iMessage. Who dreamed of the possibility of creating a client of interoperable messagingunder the wing of Europe, will therefore be greatly disappointed.

What changes for Bing and Edge: will Microsoft confirm the possibility of uninstalling the browser?

Having removed the “sword of Damocles” from Bing, Microsoft can manage the search engine without worrying about giving too much space to the competition. Same thing for the browser Edge: it is not in a monopoly position, despite being integrated at the Windows operating system level, therefore according to the Commission it does not represent a threat to free competition.

However, Microsoft has already prepared, from a technical point of view, to allow users to uninstall Edge from Windows 10 and Windows 11. What happens now, after the European Commission has not recognized Edge among the gatekeeper? Microsoft could “backtrack” and hide the possibility of proceeding with a real one Edge removal from your operating system?

Could be. However, the Microsoft operating system, by virtue of the market shares it can boast, is certainly a gatekeeper. And Edge could in this case be considered by the European authorities as an integral part of the Microsoft platform. For this reason, the Redmond company should still offer a way to delete Edge from Windows at the user’s request, from each individual device, and allow the opening of system shortcuts and links displayed in Microsoft applications with different web browsers from Edge.

The usefulness MSEdgeRedirect, presented in the previously mentioned article, relies on the Microsoft tool already available “under the hood” in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 to allow you to uninstall Edge. We will have the final confirmation of Microsoft’s “vision” on March 6th, the date set by the Commission for the adaptation to the DMA of gatekeeper.

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