Apple and Microsoft have managed to temporarily prevent iMessage and Bing from being targeted by the EU’s strict new Digital Markets Act. Instead, the European Commission announced on Wednesday that it’s opened four market investigations into Bing, Edge, Microsoft Advertising, and iMessage, to determine whether they should be designated as ”core platform services” under the DMA.
The DMA — one of several new EU laws designed to restrict the power of tech companies and help create a level playing field — creates a host of new obligations for large tech companies. Messaging services like iMessage are required to offer other companies some level of interoperability if they’re deemed to be big and important enough. Bing would be obligated to share certain data upon request, and offer a choice of other search engines if it receives an official designation.
Both Microsoft and Apple have reportedly argued that Bing and iMessage aren’t popular enough in Europe to warrant being covered by the DMA, despite the commission claiming they meet the required thresholds. However, the companies offer other so-called “core platform services” that will be covered. These include Microsoft’s Windows operating system, and Apple’s Safari browser, iOS operating system, and App Store. The regulation’s other “gatekeepers” include Alphabet, Amazon, ByteDance, and Meta. Those designated as core platform services today will need to comply with the rules by March 2024.
In a statement provided to Reuters, Apple said it had privacy and security concerns regarding the DMA, and that its focus “will be on how we mitigate these impacts and continue to deliver the very best products and services to our European customers.” Microsoft also told the publication that it welcomed the commission’s investigation while accepting its designation as a gatekeeper. The EU says that the investigation should take a maximum of five months to complete. If it decides these services should be regulated, they’ll then face a later August 2024 deadline to comply.