The European Union has been trying for some time to limit the power that big technology companies such as Apple, Google, Meta or Amazon have in their member countries. The latest move taken by the political community directly affects the big instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp or iMessage.
After a negotiation of more than 8 hours, the EU has reached an agreement to carry out a new law called Digital Markets Law (DMA). The purpose of this law is to prevent abusive practices by technology giants and the first of its points mentions something called “interoperability of messaging services”.
What the EU is looking for with this mandatory measure (it has not yet become effective) is that the large messaging platforms are interoperable with the smaller ones. This means that WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger or iMessage must be compatible with Telegram, Signal or Line (if they request it).
What does this translate to for the end user? In that if, for example, someone sends a message from WhatsApp to another person who does not have it installed on their phone, they could receive it in any other messaging app that they do have.
Users will also be able to send messages, voice memos, files, or make video calls between messaging apps. On the other hand, the new law also seeks to require technology companies to request the explicit consent of their users to collect personal data for advertising and that they can freely choose the browser or search engine they want to use.
This last point also applies to virtual assistants, something complicated to carry out, since many devices only offer the assistant that the brand itself has developed (such as Apple with Siri).
The regulations reflected in the new law will begin to apply six months after the Parliament and the Council of the EU approve the new law. Companies that fail to comply face a possible fine of up to 10 percent of their total worldwide turnover from the previous fiscal year.