Bing and iMessage try to avoid gatekeeper label

The companies are arguing that their services, Bing and iMessage, respectively, are not dominant enough to warrant the restrictions of the regulation.

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According to a report by the Financial Times, Microsoft and Apple are reportedly making efforts to avoid being listed as ‘gatekeepers‘ subject to the Digital Markets Act (DMA). As per the law, ‘gatekeepers’ are defined as companies with a market capitalisation of 75 billion euros ($82 billion) and over 45 million monthly active users. The companies are arguing that their services, Bing and iMessage, respectively, are not dominant enough to warrant the restrictions of the regulation.

Microsoft is not expected to dispute that its Windows platform is a gatekeeper. However, the company is arguing that it could potentially harm its relatively small search engine, Bing, if it is required to offer users access to competing search engines like Google. In such a situation, Microsoft believes that Bing’s already limited market share would be further reduced.

Apple is reportedly working on ways to comply with anticipated rules by opening up iOS to third-party app stores and sideloading. However, the company is arguing that iMessage does not meet the DMA’s user threshold of 45 million active monthly users and, therefore, should not be required to interoperate with other messaging services. Though Apple has not disclosed official numbers, outside estimates suggest that iMessage may have a billion users worldwide.

Why does it matter?

The news comes in the backdrop of the European Commission’s preparation to release a list of designated gatekeepers on September 6th, which will identify overall companies and specific services they offer. These powerful platforms, determined based on their revenue and user numbers, will be expected to adhere to a range of interoperability and competition regulations. While Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, ByteDance, and Samsung were already known to be included in the list, the commission still needs to determine which parts of their respective empires should be covered. Once the EU designates its gatekeepers, they will have until March 2024, or a period of six months, to comply with the DMA’s regulations.