Back in the day, BlackBerry relied on BBM to convince users to use its devices and services. Apple has something similar with iMessage, which is something that companies like Google aren’t too happy about because it causes market fragmentation and offers an inconsistent experience.
Google and other companies have tried to play nice by actively encouraging Apple to adopt RCS, but it looks like the gloves are coming off. According to a report from the Financial Times, it seems that Google and other carriers are working together to try and take advantage of the EU’s Digital Market Act to legally compel Apple into complying.
For those unfamiliar, basically the DMA is a law which says that “gatekeepers” cannot favor their own systems or limit third-parties from interoperating within them. In the case of iMessage, it essentially benefits iOS users who can send better quality photos, send messages over WiFi, and so on, but should iMessage users send messages to Android users, some of these benefits are negated, meaning that it is clear that Apple wants more users to hop onto its iOS devices to reap these “rewards”.
Apple has argued that iMessage does not violate the DMA due to how many users use iMessage compared to other messaging services, so while Apple themselves might be a huge company that sells a ton of iPhones, the number of iMessage users is small in comparison.
The EU’s investigation is still ongoing and a decision is expected before February next year, so it remains to be seen how this will turn out for Apple and if it will be a victory for them, or if they might be forced to open up iMessage, similar to how they were forced to adopt USB-C for its latest iPhones.
Source: The Verge