Microsoft and Apple argue that their services, Bing and iMessage, respectively, are not large enough to be considered “gatekeepers” under the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA is designed to promote fair competition and curb the power of Big Tech. It would subject gatekeepers to several new obligations, such as allowing users to uninstall pre-installed apps and giving them a choice of other search engines.
Gatekeepers? The DMA focuses on the most prominent digital platforms within the EU, commonly called “gatekeepers.” These encompass online search engines, app distribution platforms, and social media networks.
In another interaction between Microsoft and the EU recently, Microsoft committed to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) for ad transparency.
Microsoft argues that Bing’s market share is too small to justify being subject to the DMA. Bing has a market share of just 3% in the EU, compared to Google’s 92%. Microsoft also argues that Bing is not a default search engine on Windows devices and that users can easily change their search engine settings. iMessage potentially has around 1 billion global users, though Apple has not disclosed recent figures.
Apple contends that iMessage cannot be classified as a gatekeeper as it is not a “core platform.” According to Apple, iMessage’s market position and user base do not meet the criteria for being considered a gatekeeper under the DMA. Apple is arguing that iMessage is not large enough or dominant enough to be categorized as a gatekeeper under this legislation.
The European Commission will ultimately decide whether or not to designate Bing and iMessage as gatekeepers. If designated as gatekeepers, they will be subject to the new obligations under the DMA.
It is worth noting that the DMA is a new law that entered into force on 1 November 2022 and became applicable, for the most part, on 2 May 2023, and it is not yet clear how it will be interpreted and enforced. It is possible that the European Commission will decide to exempt Bing and iMessage from the DMA or that it will impose different obligations on them than on other gatekeepers.