THE European Union concluded discussions on the final format of the Digital Markets Act, or DMA, which will dramatically change how tech giants operate in the Old World. By the way, the most popular instant messengers like iPhone Messages (or iMessage), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, Telegram and others will become interoperable, that is, they will have to receive and send messages each other.
iPhone Messaging App (Credit: Brett Jordan/Unsplash) Final discussions DMA focused on deciding what its scope would be. A group of European legislators advocated that it focus on regulating social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, as they contain user-created content, for which the companies could not be directly held responsible. The second model, which ended up being chosen, is much more aggressive, but in line with the general sentiment of the European bloc towards US companies. All companies that provide at least one type of internet service (connection, search, streaming, storage, social networks, messengers, etc.) outstanding shares of €75 billion (~R$395.33 billion, quoted on 03/25/2022), or achieve a minimum annual turnover of €7.5 billion (~R$3.95 billion). All companies that have services that exceed the minimum limit of 45 million end users per month on the continent, and/or 10 thousand annual corporate users, will be observed and regulated by the new law, without exceptions. DMA talks about a myriad of situations, about what technology companies can and cannot do in Europe, for example, companies will not be able to privilege products sold by themselves in marketplace services (Amazon), but one of the points discussed, which took around 8 hours of deliberation between members of Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, according to the official statement, focused on the operation of instant messaging applications. In a decision that will greatly irritate the big techs in the US, it was decided that Apple, Facebook, Google and larger companies will be forced to open their platforms to smaller ones, where all will have interoperability features. Basically, a European user of Telegram (the company officially claims to have no revenue), or Signal, using the app on a PC via a browser, should be able to chat with another user using iMessage on an iPhone, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Google Chat on Android, and vice versa, without any hindrance. Any and all combinations of conversations between applications must be allowed. This is not a big problem for most of these platforms, as both Google and Meta, among others, offer their messengers in different systems, although each one is restricted in its separate box. However, the move will hit Apple hard, which treats iMessage as one of its “crown jewels”, a unique feature among several that alone justify the purchase of iPhones, iPads and Macs.
iMessage on iPhone (Credit: Reproduction/Apple) There are even apps capable of integrating chat between various apps, including iMessage, but Apple has always been resolute in its decision not to mingle with the mob, and vehemently refuses to add compatibility to the RCS, a protocol seen as the successor to SMS, which although implemented by operators, has Google as its main poster boy. One reason for this is Cupertino’s good old arrogance. Steve Jobs’ company prides itself on creating trends that others follow, and it’s not given to following what others do unless it can use the Reality Distortion Field and tell its customers that even though it didn’t come up with the idea first first, Apple perfected it. In the case of messaging integration, Apple has in the past offered the iMessage technology to operators, which have declined. Google used some of these ideas to improve RCS, but because it is not the company responsible for integrating communication between messengers, and taking the credit forever, the Cupertino giant refuses to adhere to an idea led by Mountain View, out of pure tantrum. Unfortunately for Apple, the European Union is totally ignorant of these facts. The idea, according to Cédric O, French secretary of state for issues related to the digital economy, is to react differently to the last 10 years, in which big techs would rather pay hefty fines than adapt, just because their cashiers are full of cash. money. That era is over. Either the companies comply with the law, or they will be subject to fines of 10% of the current annual global revenue, escalating up to 20% in case of recidivism; if3 a big tech systematically continues to evade the DMA, it will be prevented from making acquisitions of other companies. The goal, as Commissioner General Margrethe Vestager has made clear before, is to hit harder, harder and where it hurts the most, and in more companies, not just the quartet of giants Google, Amazon, Meta and Apple. While the final text of the DMA still needs to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament, as both and the European Commission have already reached an informal consensus, it means that the final voting procedure will be a mere formality. Once this is done, and after official publication, the law will enter into force 20 days later; the companies will have 6 months to adapt, or they will suffer the sanctions and fines foreseen. Source: European Parliament, TechCrunch