Apple’s iMessage and Microsoft’s Bing exempted from EU Digital Markets Act

In a recent development, Apple and Microsoft have successfully secured exemptions for their services, iMessage and Bing search engine, respectively, from the European Union’s impending Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA, set to take effect in three weeks, mandates major tech players, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta Platforms, and ByteDance, to permit third-party apps on their platforms and facilitate user transitions to competitors.

The European Commission, responsible for antitrust regulations, acknowledged the companies’ arguments without divulging specific details. Apple contended that iMessage has minimal usage in the EU compared to other messaging services, asserting it is not a vital channel for business outreach. Microsoft emphasized the limited scale of Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising, positioning them as non-crucial gateways for business users.

Apple’s spokesperson highlighted the abundance of messaging apps available to consumers, emphasizing the ease of switching between them. Microsoft expressed ongoing commitment to ensuring compliance with the DMA for its other designated platforms.

Antitrust expert Lazar Radic commended the Commission for considering market realities rather than solely relying on quantitative thresholds, emphasizing the avoidance of over-regulation.

However, the Coalition for Open Digital Ecosystems (CODE), representing members like Google, Meta Platforms, and Qualcomm, opposed the Commission’s decision, arguing it undermines the DMA’s objectives and the potential for enhanced choice and competition in the European market.

This divergence of opinions underscores the complexity and differing perspectives surrounding the regulatory landscape for major tech companies in the EU.