The EU recently signed the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA), which will push Apple, Facebook, and Google to alter how their platforms function when speaking of the rivalry. These two pieces of legislation will force messaging apps such as iMessage and WhatsApp to operate with third-party partners. Apple and Google will also be forced to allow third-party app stores.
Both acts are expected to be enacted by the end of 2022. While the move was a long time coming, it will be a huge step whether companies like it or not. Big tech companies are infamous for making it hard for users to move between platforms and for small competitors trying to make it big in the industry.
Apple, Facebook Hit Hardest
The DMA will ensure that all these messaging platforms will work in tandem. But that will depend completely on the platform holders. The body is setting up a team of enforcers that will make sure the services face fine threats if they don’t comply with the rules.
This move might not go down well with Apple and Facebook. The latter facilitates two messaging platforms: WhatsApp and Messenger which have over two billion users apiece. Apple’s iMessage app also has a huge user base on its platform.
Smaller services like Signal might not face the heat. How this move will be implemented remains to be seen. There’s also no confirmation whether all services will support a universal protocol like RCS. Facebook has already started building something resembling what the EU has ordered. We could see cross-compatibility between Instagram and Messenger and WhatsApp will join the party soon.
App Store & PlayStore Also Under Radar
Meanwhile, DSA will take on platforms like Apple’s App Store. Legislators from Korea, Japan, and the US have aimed at different aspects of the app store paradigm. If Apple wants to keep operating in Europe, the company will have to open up iOS to third-party App stores.
“The European Parliament has adopted a global first: Strong, ambitious regulation of online platforms. The Digital Services Act enables the protection of users’ rights online. The Digital Markets Act creates fair, open online markets. As an example, illegal hate speech can also be dealt with online. And products bought online must be safe,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age.
“Big platforms will have to refrain from promoting their own interests, share their data with other businesses, and enable more app stores. Because with size comes responsibility — as a big platform, there are things you must do and things you cannot do,” he added.
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Story first published: Friday, July 8, 2022, 15:58 [IST]