The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force back in August with the goal of more transparent regulations over large companies like Apple and Microsoft and their core platform services. The EU initially considered Apple’s iMessage and Microsoft’s Edge, Bing and Microsoft Advertising as gatekeepers – large digital platforms with over 45 million active users in the EU and €7.5 billion annual revenue but Apple and Microsoft have appealed the EU Commission’s preliminary assessments and are now clear of any accusations.
The EU’s probe found out that despite meeting the quantitative thresholds, neither of the four platforms qualify as gatekeepers following an in-depth analysis by the EU Commission with “input from relevant stakeholders” and the Digital Markets Advisory Committee.
While iMessage, Edge, Bing and Microsoft Advertising are not considered gatekeepers, Apple and Microsoft are still deemed gatekeepers across serval categories – namely operating systems (iOS and Windows), browsers (Safari), intermediation (App Store), and social networks (LinkedIn).
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.
In its decision of 5 September 2023, the Commission considered that the rebuttal requests made by Apple and Microsoft deserved an in-depth analysis. Following a thorough assessment of all arguments, taking into account input by relevant stakeholders, and after hearing the Digital Markets Advisory Committee, the Commission found that iMessage, Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising do not qualify as gatekeeper services. – EU Commission press release
Had iMessage been designated a gatekeeper, Apple would have been required to make its proprietary messages interoperable with competing messaging apps. Microsoft was required to stop forcing Windows 11 users in the EU to use its Edge browser as the default browser back in September to comply with the DMA. Gatekeepers will also receive fines of up to 10% of the company’s total worldwide annual revenue and up to 20% of revenues for repeated infringements.