Reports indicate that Microsoft and Apple are making efforts to avoid having Bing and iMessage included on a list of "gatekeepers" subject to new European regulations. According to the Financial Times, both companies are privately arguing that their services do not possess the size or influence that would warrant the restrictions imposed by the Digital Markets Act, a regulation designed to foster competition in the tech industry.
The European Commission is scheduled to release a roster of designated gatekeepers on September 6th, identifying not only overarching companies but also specific services they provide. These influential platforms, categorized based on their revenue and user base, will be obligated to adhere to a range of interoperability and competition regulations. Apple and Microsoft, alongside Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, ByteDance, and Samsung, were already known to be on the list, but the commission must determine which aspects of their businesses should be covered. Once the EU designates gatekeepers, they will have until March 2024 to comply with the DMA's regulations.
According to FT, Microsoft is unlikely to dispute that its Windows platform qualifies as a gatekeeper, but it contends that Bing's relatively modest share of the search market, compared to the dominant Google, could be further reduced if it is required to provide users access to rival search engines.
Similarly, Apple is reportedly developing measures to facilitate third-party app stores and sideloading on iOS to meet the forthcoming rules. However, FT reports that Apple argues iMessage does not meet the DMA's user threshold of 45 million active monthly users and should, therefore, be exempt from interoperating with other messaging services. As FT notes, although Apple has not officially disclosed user numbers, external estimates suggest that iMessage may have a billion users worldwide.
The DMA is part of a suite of EU laws intended to limit the influence of tech corporations. The Digital Services Act, which focuses on how platforms manage user data and content moderation, came into effect last month.