Google has been pushing for Apple to adopt Rich Communication Services (RCS) for its iMessage messaging service, but according to Bloomberg, Apple has no plans to do so, citing security concerns. Apple engineers reportedly believe that RCS does not effectively encrypt conversations, unlike iMessage. While Apple may not be willing to switch to RCS, it could still comply with other requirements of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which could include allowing users to access third-party app stores in addition to Apple’s App Store. If Apple does not comply with the DMA, it could face fines of up to 20% of its international revenues. Regardless of Apple’s decision, the DMA is expected to significantly impact the tech landscape in the coming years.
Apple has long faced criticism for its restrictions on iPhone users, including the fact that iMessage only works between iPhones and that users can only download apps from Apple’s official App Store. However, this could change in the future with the implementation of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which has recently come into effect. While companies like Apple are not immediately required to comply with the act, it could eventually force Apple to open up its ecosystem and allow iOS users to access third-party app stores and even sideload software.
Under the DMA, smartphone manufacturers will be required to allow users to install third-party app stores. This would allow iPhone users, for example, to install the Google Play Store on their device and download apps from it. Apple will also reportedly be required to accept the installation of apps outside of official stores, a practice known as sideloading, which has long been considered a danger by Apple and the company has even recommended Android devices for those who want to engage in such practices.
This change could be a major shift for iPhone users, potentially allowing them to reinstall banned apps like Fortnite, which was removed from the App Store last year. While it is still possible to play the game for free via Xbox Cloud Gaming, the actual app could make a comeback once Europe forces companies to comply with the law.
In addition to app store and sideloading changes, the DMA also requires interoperability of messaging, voice, and video call services. This means that other companies can request interoperability with Apple’s iMessage, potentially forcing Apple to work with Rich Communication Services (RCS) messages. Google has been trying for months to get Apple to adopt RCS for iMessage, but the company has so far refused and has even