Apple not considering adopting RCS for iMessage

A new report from Bloomberg today says that Apple is planning to open the iPhone up to third-party app stores for the first time. The report, however, also says that Apple hasn’t made a decision on “how it may open iMessage and its Messages app to third-party services.”

Like the App Store changes, this is something that would be required under the new Digital Markets Act in the European Union.

The Digital Markets Act was approved by the European Union parliament earlier this year. It lays out a number of new requirements for platform owners like Apple. Among other things, those requirements include support for third-party app stores and interoperability for services like iMessage. The DMA outlines that companies will have to “open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms.”

While today’s report from Bloomberg says Apple’s support for third-party app stores on iPhone could launch as part of iOS 17 next year, the company is still undecided on how or if to comply with the messages aspect of the legislation.

One possible way of complying with the requirement would be for Apple to adopt the rich communication services, or RCS, standard supported by Google and other platforms. Apple, however, “isn’t currently considering” this as a possibility.

[Apple] hasn’t, however, made a decision on how it may open iMessage and its Messages app to third-party services — another requirement of the Digital Markets Act. Engineers believe that such a change could hurt end-to-end encryption and other privacy features offered by iMessage. The company also isn’t currently considering integrating RCS, or rich communication services, a messaging protocol that Google and others are pushing Apple to adopt.

If Apple fails to comply with aspects of the Digital Markets Act, the EU is threatening fines of “as much as 20% of a company’s annual global revenue if they repeatedly violate the law.” The DMA is set to go into effect in the coming months, but companies have until 2024 to comply with the laws in their entirety.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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