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Apple's iMessage chat service may dodge EU regulatory demands for platform interoperability after all. Bloomberg reports that an investigation by the bloc's antitrust watchdog has tentatively concluded that the chat service is not popular enough with business users to warrant being subject to the new rules.

European-Commisssion.jpg

The EU has been working on legislation under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) that would have required Apple to make changes to iMessage to make it available on other platforms. The rules will apply to tech giants that meet its "gatekeeper" criteria, force them to open up their various services and platforms to other companies and developers.

The interoperability rules theoretically mean that Meta apps like WhatsApp or Messenger could request to interoperate with Apple's iMessage framework, and Apple would be forced to comply within the EU. But today's report suggests iMessage may fall outside the legislation because it is not widely used by businesses.

The report notes that the possible reprieve for Apple is part of a five-month market investigation by the European Commission, and Apple's exemption has not and will not be officially confirmed until the probe is completed in February.

Regardless of the investigation's conclusions, the DMA will likely still force Apple to make major changes to the way the App Store, FaceTime, and Siri work in Europe. For example, it is expected to allow users to install third-party app stores and side-load apps, and give developers the ability to promote their offers outside the ‌‌App Store‌‌ and use third-party payment systems.

Article Link: Apple's iMessage May Dodge EU Regulatory Demand for Interoperability
 

contacos

macrumors 601
Nov 11, 2020
4,475
17,337
Mexico City living in Berlin
So a gatekeeper e. g. META with WhatsApp can only request another gatekeeper service to interoperate with one another? What is even the point then if there isnt another company deemed a gatekeeper (for messages)? Is META supposed to interoperate with itself? :D also, didnt the EU actually forbid a while back for META to use its data between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook??? yet now they are supposed to work between each other as a gatekeeper?
 

Mikep976

macrumors member
Oct 23, 2017
36
70
Washington
Well crap. I was really hoping this would open up iMessage and force it to work with android / force an iMessage app on Android so that I can freely switch to a foldable since Apple refuses to innovate on it (extra .000004 cm extra screen via bezal shrinking is “Innovative enough” for my 15 Pro Max apparently).

Ok, now I’ll hop out before the pearl clutching folks come in and praise this since opening iMessage up will apparently bring pure evil and government intervention that will only lead to their phone literally growing legs and forcing a European uprising in the U.S
 

LiE_

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2013
1,671
5,152
UK
Well crap. I was really hoping this would open up iMessage and force it to work with android / force an iMessage app on Android so that I can freely switch to a foldable since Apple refuses to innovate on it (extra .000004 cm extra screen via bezal shrinking is “Innovative enough” for my 15 Pro Max apparently).

Ok, now I’ll hop out before the pearl clutching folks come in and praise this since opening iMessage up will apparently bring pure evil and government intervention that will only lead to their phone literally growing legs and forcing a European uprising in the U.S

You could try


Beeper Mini works differently than Beeper Cloud in important ways that increase your privacy and security. Beeper Mini is a standalone Android app. It does not require a cloud server to send and receive messages. It also implements Apple’s end-to-end encryption protocol natively within the Android app itself. All messages are end-to-end encrypted before they are transmitted directly from your device to Apple servers. Learn more about iMessage encryption on Apple Platform Security page.

This is now possible because the iMessage protocol and encryption have been reverse engineered by jjtech, a security researcher. Leveraging this research, Beeper Mini implements the iMessage protocol locally within the app.

My brother in law messaged me using it on his Pixel 7 Pro and it worked really well.
 

SPUY767

macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2003
2,041
131
GA
So a gatekeeper e. g. META with WhatsApp can only request another gatekeeper service to interoperate with one another? What is even the point then if there isnt another company deemed a gatekeeper (for messages)? Is META supposed to interoperate with itself? :D also, didnt the EU actually forbid a while back for META to use its data between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook??? yet now they are supposed to work between each other as a gatekeeper?
You're operating under the assumption that governmental requirements have to be actionable, or even possible. Look, man, it's more important that legislation has flowery language that makes you feel good about yourself than it is to actually accomplish anything.
 

CarAnalogy

macrumors 68040
Jun 9, 2021
3,940
7,092
You could try




My brother in law messaged me using it on his Pixel 7 Pro and it worked really well.

Maybe it’s perfectly fine and I just don’t properly understand how it works. But I’m not willing to trust an intermediary with iMessage. It seems risky for a couple reasons.

Edit: after reading how it works, it’s not quite trusting an intermediary. I wouldn’t count on it for anything essential but it seems interesting.
 
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Antinoitikos

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2012
8
2
Hmmm, it seems like Apple needs to delete this page and decommission the feature asap...this certainly doesn't help their argument.

 
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DownUnderDan

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2018
316
452
Hobart Australia
You're operating under the assumption that governmental requirements have to be actionable, or even possible. Look, man, it's more important that legislation has flowery language that makes you feel good about yourself than it is to actually accomplish anything.
That sounded really cool when you wrote it, but of course the reality is your life is much safer because government regulation actually does protect you and the community. You don't have to go any further then your house, your community or your workplace to see the evidence.
 

CarAnalogy

macrumors 68040
Jun 9, 2021
3,940
7,092
So a gatekeeper e. g. META with WhatsApp can only request another gatekeeper service to interoperate with one another? What is even the point then if there isnt another company deemed a gatekeeper (for messages)? Is META supposed to interoperate with itself? :D also, didnt the EU actually forbid a while back for META to use its data between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook??? yet now they are supposed to work between each other as a gatekeeper?

The wording of the article is kind of confusing. I think the significance is that it’s supposed to work the other way around. If you make a messaging service, and Meta is a gatekeeper, you should be able to ask to interoperate with them and they have to do it.

I think. That’s the only way this makes sense.
 

klasma

macrumors 601
Jun 8, 2017
4,844
13,070
Well crap. I was really hoping this would open up iMessage and force it to work with android / force an iMessage app on Android so that I can freely switch to a foldable since Apple refuses to innovate on it (extra .000004 cm extra screen via bezal shrinking is “Innovative enough” for my 15 Pro Max apparently).

Ok, now I’ll hop out before the pearl clutching folks come in and praise this since opening iMessage up will apparently bring pure evil and government intervention that will only lead to their phone literally growing legs and forcing a European uprising in the U.S
In the meantime, Beeper seems like a working solution: https://www.theverge.com/2023/12/5/23987817/beeper-mini-imessage-android-reverse-engineer
 
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TechRemarker

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2009
501
617
So a gatekeeper e. g. META with WhatsApp can only request another gatekeeper service to interoperate with one another? What is even the point then if there isnt another company deemed a gatekeeper (for messages)? Is META supposed to interoperate with itself? :D also, didnt the EU actually forbid a while back for META to use its data between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook??? yet now they are supposed to work between each other as a gatekeeper?
Keeping data on users seperate between Meta's apps is different than simply allowing messages to to interoperate with other messaging apps including their own.
 
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falkon-engine

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2010
1,177
2,818
What is the point of the interoperate legislation? Email exists and is interoperable. Do people who use WhatsApp want to communicate (via Whatsapp) with users on Signal or Facebook or iMessage? If you want to talk to people on those other platforms, why not just use the platform's app ?
 

CarAnalogy

macrumors 68040
Jun 9, 2021
3,940
7,092
Read up on it to understand how it works: https://blog.beeper.com/p/how-beeper-mini-works

It’s a valiant effort, to be sure. Notifications may be less reliable, but that’s understandable. A few notes, however.

This is now possible because the iMessage protocol and encryption have been reverse engineered by jjtech, a security researcher.

This guy is clearly very, very smart. However, security researcher may be a little generous. The linked blog post says he’s a high school student. That’s incredible, fantastic work. Still not sure I want to trust the reverse engineering of one person of necessarily limited experience.

Leveraging this research, Beeper Mini implements the iMessage protocol locally within the app.

This is the other weak spot. Even if the reverse engineering is perfect and Apple can’t change it out from under them, the implementation is a different question. That also needs to be basically perfect and something Apple can’t quietly break with plausible deniability.

The public key is sent to Apple servers, and the private keys are stored in the Android device local filesystem.

This is perhaps the biggest difference. As I understand it, on iPhone iMessage keys are stored in Secure Enclave and are supposed to be essentially impossible to get at. Not sure if it’s the same here.

Overall an extremely impressive effort. It raises a few interesting arguments both for and against Apple just doing this themselves. And I have to wonder if iMessage is important enough why not use use a cheap ipad or old iPhone. And with RCS “coming soon” the advantages of this should quickly evaporate.

Like I said in another post, this guy has an unfortunate history of great ideas which are quickly destroyed by Apple.
 
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jimbobb24

macrumors 68040
Jun 6, 2005
3,330
5,349
That sounded really cool when you wrote it, but of course the reality is your life is much safer because government regulation actually does protect you and the community. You don't have to go any further then your house, your community or your workplace to see the evidence.
Beyond the scope of this page but it's easy to see lots of examples where regulation has mixed to negative results and has caused catastrophe. Everything has tradeoffs and few things are perfectly good or bad.
 

klasma

macrumors 601
Jun 8, 2017
4,844
13,070
Like I said in another post, this guy has an unfortunate history of great ideas which are quickly destroyed by Apple.
Assuming it’s even technically feasible without breaking iMessage on older devices (which it seems it is not), it would likely be a bad show for Apple to move against this as long as they are under anti-trust scrutiny. They also haven’t made any moves in the past against the previous Android iMessage apps. And if RCS actually becomes a thing, there will maybe also be little motivation anymore for Apple to garden-wall iMessage. In any case, it’s an interesting development.
 

Superhai

macrumors 6502a
Apr 21, 2010
711
521
So a gatekeeper e. g. META with WhatsApp can only request another gatekeeper service to interoperate with one another? What is even the point then if there isnt another company deemed a gatekeeper (for messages)? Is META supposed to interoperate with itself? :D also, didnt the EU actually forbid a while back for META to use its data between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook??? yet now they are supposed to work between each other as a gatekeeper?
There is a FAQ for the DMA https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_20_2349
Essentially if you are a gatekeeper, you have to provide interoperability access to your service from third-party. So if if Apple is not considered a gatekeeper, they don't have to let i.e. WhatsApp or other service interoperability to the service. Actually if WhatsApp would be a gatekeeper then Apple could request that iMessage given access to WhatsApp and then Meta would have to comply.

I would believe a comparison would be that a "gatekeeper" be considered more a "public" utility service company, so DMA and DSA are a combination of anti-trust and public utility access legislation.
 
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