iMessage and Bing not subject to DMA: European Commission

The European Commission announced on Tuesday that Apple and Microsoft will not be classified as gatekeepers for certain platform services under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

This decision follows a comprehensive evaluation, incorporating feedback from stakeholders and consultation with the Digital Markets Advisory Committee.

Gatekeeper Exclusion Criteria

The DMA, effective in three weeks, mandates tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta Platforms, and ByteDance to facilitate third-party apps or app stores on their platforms. This aims to enhance competition.

In September 2023, the Commission identified six companies as gatekeepers, including Apple and Microsoft. These gatekeepers hold significant sway over various digital markets, encompassing social media platforms and web browsers.

Criteria for Gatekeeper Status

To be classified as a gatekeeper, a company must meet specific annual turnover requirements within the European Economic Area, serve a substantial number of monthly active users in the EU, and cater to numerous active business users.

While Apple and Microsoft meet these criteria for some services, iMessage, Edge, Bing, and Microsoft Advertising fall short.

Exclusion from Gatekeeper Designation

Despite being subject to investigation since July 2023, iMessage, Edge, Bing, and Microsoft Advertising do not qualify as gatekeeper services. This decision does not affect Apple and Microsoft’s designation as gatekeepers for other core platform services.

Apple and Microsoft’s Other Gatekeeper Services

Apple’s App Store, Safari browser, and iOS operating system, along with Microsoft’s LinkedIn social network and Windows operating system, retain their gatekeeper status. Both companies have committed to complying with DMA regulations.

Responses from Apple and Microsoft

Apple clarified that iMessage’s usage is minimal compared to rival services in the EU and is not a crucial channel for businesses.

Microsoft asserted that Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising operate as challengers in the market and are relatively small-scale, not serving as significant gateways for business users.

Continued Monitoring by the Commission

The European Commission will continue monitoring market developments concerning these services. Any substantial changes may prompt reconsideration.

However, the exclusion of iMessage, Edge, Bing, and Microsoft Advertising from gatekeeper designation remains unchanged, preserving Apple and Microsoft’s status as gatekeepers for other core platform services.