European Commission Finds iMessage, Bing, Edge and Microsoft Ads Are Not Gatekeepers

The European Commission:

Yesterday, the Commission has adopted decisions closing four market investigations that were launched on 5 September 2023 under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), finding that Apple and Microsoft should not be designated as gatekeepers for the following core platform services: Apple’s messaging service iMessage, Microsoft’s online search engine Bing, web browser Edge and online advertising service Microsoft Advertising.


The non-confidential versions of the decisions will be published under cases DMA.100015, DMA.100024, DMA.100028 and DMA.100034 on the Commission’s DMA website.

The DMA case ’24 is actually related to Meta’s messaging services; I believe the iMessage decision will be published at ’22 when confidential information has been removed. One data point sure to be scrubbed is the precise number of iMessage users in the E.U., which Apple says falls below the governance threshold of 45 million regular users plus ten thousand business users. Based on some rough back-of-the-envelope math, I assume Apple is leaning heavily on a lack of business users to make its case.

Messaging client interoperability remains a particularly controversial imposition as end-to-end encryption must work between first- and third-party clients. That likely entails some kind of plugin architecture to avoid exposing secrets. I do not expect Apple to take advantage of third-party compatibility.

On another note, it sure is an interesting time in which the browser Microsoft ships with Windows and aggressively pushes — outside of Europe — is used so infrequently it is not considered a gatekeeper but Apple’s default browser is. It feels like some “Freaky Friday” nostalgia.