EU requires WhatsApp and iMessage to work with other messaging apps

The EU has just adopted the new European law on digital markets. With this set of new rules, Europe intends in particular to require that the main messaging services, such as WhatsApp, Messenger or even iMessage, work with small platforms at the request of developers.

messenger whatsapp interoperability
Credits: Unsplash

We mentioned it in our columns this morning. The EU has just adopted the new European law on digital markets. This list, which includes new legislation, will make it possible to regulate the activities of the digital giants and to put an end to a certain extent to the monopoly of Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon.

Thanks to the new Digital Markets Act (that’s its name), the GAFAM will have to comply with around twenty rules, under penalty of being sanctioned by European justice. We note among the strong measures the prohibition for the digital giants to favor their own services, an annoying habit taken by Google and Meta, or even the obligation to host alternative application stores on their OS for Google, Apple and Microsoft. In addition, these companies will no longer have the right to impose pre-installed software on their devices.

A measure also concerns instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp, iMessage or Facebook Messenger. Thus, EU lawmakers agreed “that larger messaging services (such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage) will need to open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms, if they so request”.

WhatsApp and iMessage will need to open to messaging apps

In other words, a Telegram or Signal user will need to be able to exchange messagessend files, or make video calls with contacts in other instant messaging apps. The EU also mentioned the obligation of interoperability between social networksbut lawmakers have announced that this measure will be discussed later.

Note, however, that the EU press release does not clearly indicate whether the leaders of the sector will have to work together to ensure this interoperability, but Europe says it wants “tearing down the walls that surround the gardens, without over-regulating small businesses”. Regarding the schedule, large applications will obviously have to meet certain deadlines to integrate the different levels of interoperability:

  • Three months to make individual messaging intercompatible
  • Two years to make group messaging interoperable
  • Four years for audio and video calls

Note that this clock will start to turn for WhatsApp and others as soon as the developer of an instant messaging application makes an interoperability request.

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