The European Commission (EC) concluded Apple’s iMessage service should not fall under new Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations, rules which would have forced the company into a range of concessions around interoperability.

In a statement, the regulator released the results of a five-month investigation into whether iMessage could be considered a core service run by a gatekeeper under the DMA.

Gatekeepers are defined by the EC as large online platforms providing an important link between business and consumers with their core services (as defined by the regulator) subject to the rules. The act is designed to prevent uncompetitive behaviour related specifically to those core platforms.   

Apple has gatekeeper status with respect to iOS, its App Store and Safari browser. Other companies branded such are Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and TikTok parent ByteDance.    

Alongside iMessage, the EC also decided Microsoft’s Bing search engine, browser Edge and online advertising service Microsoft Advertising fell outside of DMA rules following probes into those services.

The investigations kicked off in September 2023, with Apple and Microsoft arguing the services under the microscope should not qualify as core platforms.

In December 2023 Bloomberg reported the EC was of the provisional opinion iMessage was not an important gateway for business users and so Apple would likely avoid having it subject to DMA rules.