The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to make the most popular messaging services in Europe interoperable with smaller platforms

Europe is agreeing to new rules that “limit the market power of large online platforms.” Under the umbrella of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), it wants to allow messaging service giants to be interoperable with smaller platforms, should the latter request it.

Sending a message from Signal (or any other non-major messaging platform) to a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger contact would be possible if these proposals are approved. Penalties of up to 20% of the company’s total turnover are also proposed in case of non-compliance with the interoperability requirements.

The European Parliament and Council are trying to further regulate the digital market, putting the focus back on what they call “core platform services”, technology giants such as Google, Meta or Apple. According to the EU, the platforms of these companies are “more prone to unfair commercial practices”, each having a market capitalization of at least €75 billion or a current turnover of €7.5 billion.

If it meets these characteristics, which also include having at least 45 million monthly users in Europe or 10,000 annual business users, Europe will consider these companies as ‘Guardians’: companies that will be obliged to open their platform to smaller third parties. The idea is that users of such smaller apps will be able to send and receive messages from the mainstream platforms, as well as send files and even make video calls.

This would fulfill the utopian scenario of sending a message from minority apps to platforms such as WhatsApp, without the need to have the service installed on the majority platform. This clashes head-on with the position of giants such as Apple, which are opposed to iMessage working on Android, fearing a loss of users.

If these rules are approved, the Commission reserves the right to impose fines of up to 10% of total worldwide turnover in the previous year, rising to 20% in the case of repeated infringements. Similarly, the acquisition of other companies may be prohibited for a certain period if they systematically violate the rules.

The text is pending approval in Parliament, giving the technology companies a period of six months for its implementation, in the event that the proposal is approved.

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