Apple’s iMessage dodges tough new EU regulations – and Google isn’t happy

Apple won't be forced to open up iMessage to rival messaging services, after the European Commission decided that the app – alongside Microsoft's Bing and Edge –won't be subject to tough new EU regulations. And Google isn't particularly happy about the decision.

Bloomberg (via BGR) reported that the inbound Digital Markets Act (DMA), which comes into play in March 2024, will not affect Apple’s messaging platform, nor Microsoft’s Bing search engine or Edge browser, as none of the services hold enough share in their respective markets.

In short, after a probe which went on for five months, the European Commission has concluded that these digital properties simply aren’t a dominant enough presence to require regulation, and therefore they’re flying under the radar of the DMA.

Unsurprisingly, Apple and Microsoft welcomed the announcement from the European Commission. Ducking the regulation obviously means avoiding headaches around compliance with the DMA, and these apps can carry on as they were with no interference.

iMessage updates in iOS 17.2

(Image credit: Apple)

But Google, which has been calling on the EU to make Apple's iMessage play fair with Android phones, is less happy with the decision. A Google spokesperson told us that “excluding these popular services from DMA rules means consumers and businesses won’t be offered the breadth of choice that already exists on other, more open platforms”.

Apple has previously said that it will support RCS messages from Android phones in 2024, a compromise that seems to have worked in its favor with this European Commission decision. But Google and others clearly wanted EU regulations to go further.

The Coalition for Open Digital Ecosystems (CODE), a group that Google helped to set up with Meta, Qualcomm and several other tech giants, also stated that “today’s surprising decision undermines the objectives of the DMA, as well as its potential to improve choice and contestability for all Europeans.”

Analysis: A good decision for consumers?

imessage editing patent

(Image credit: Apple Inc)

So, is this a good thing, a bad thing? Perhaps the best place to start is asking: what’s the aim of the DMA itself?

The Digital Markets Act is all about ensuring that digital markets are “fair and open” to all-comers. To do this, it intends to regulate so-called “gatekeepers” or large online platforms, providing stipulations to adhere to, and various dos and don’ts for them. 

A key part of this is ensuring interoperability with the gatekeeper’s own service, free access to data pertaining to the service, and a whole gamut of regulation, frankly – including preventing companies from prohibiting uninstallation of an app.

After this ruling, none of this will apply to iMessage, Edge or Bing. This isn’t really a great surprise in the case of iMessage, to be fair, because while it’s big in the US, most folks use WhatsApp in Europe, and iMessage isn’t actually all that popular (relatively speaking). 

Therefore, iMessage isn't regarded as a gatekeeper, and thus not subject to the regulations. The same is true of Bing and Edge, which are still leagues behind Google and Chrome for market share. Incidentally, if you were wondering, WhatsApp will be regulated under the DMA.

Woman using iMessage on iPhone

(Image credit: Shutterstock / DenPhotos)

If you think Apple is getting a free pass with the DMA, though, think again. As you may have seen recently, the company is being forced to make some major changes to its mobile operating system. 

iOS 17.4 will show you more prominent options for choosing your default browser and will let you download from alternative app stores (not just Apple’s own ecosystem), for starters – which is all huge, of course.

Similarly, Microsoft has been forced to make changes with Windows 11 for the European market, like the ability to uninstall Edge if you want to be rid of the browser, or to be able to unhook Bing from the operating system’s search bar (and more besides).

So, while these individual apps – iMessage, Bing, and Edge – won’t fall under the regulating hammer of the DMA, Apple and Microsoft’s widely-used operating systems most certainly do.

There’s another specter on the horizon for iMessage, though, and that’s the possibility that this kind of regulation may be passed in the US, where Apple’s messaging app does have a big presence.

Furthermore, there’s already mounting pressure from rival browser makers who aren’t happy about the way Apple has dealt with the DMA here, allowing for the aforementioned greater choice and freedom in iOS, but only in Europe – which means that those browser developers must juggle two different versions of their clients for Apple’s mobiles, not just one.

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How I solved Wordle #255 – spoilers for today’s (rather tough) answer

Welcome back to my weekday Wordle Solution Diary, where I take you step-by-step through my own Wordle puzzle efforts. Today, we're tackling Wordle #255.

For those unfamiliar with Wordle, The New York Times’ (recently-purchased) daily word game asks you to guess a five-letter word in six tries.  Simple right?

If you just want to skip to the Today's Wordle answer, (and yes, we have a page to do just that), you can depart right now. But what would be the fun in that? 

You want to preserve your streak and, I believe, learn how to get better at Wordle, which means making smart choices and understanding the tactics that can take you from a “Winning in 5” to a “Solved in three” kind of Wordle player.

The guide below includes how I make my guesses and images of my work. When I make a mistake, you'll see it. Maybe it'll help you avoid some of your own.

Let's Wordle together.

Spoiler Alert: If you do not want to know today’s Wordle answer, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.

Feeling strong

Even though it took me four attempts, yesterday's solution (Wordle #254) in four strengthened my confidence. Seeing the “CH” combination reminds me that all those decades of writing might, in fact, count for something. 

I'm so cocky that now I'm ready to Wordle from the train. I'm still using my laptop, though. I'm convinced the big screen is helping me focus.

Wordle Guesses

The Wordle start screen (Image credit: Future)

The first word

Your biggest leap will always be that first word. I can choose any five-letter word but, generally, dismiss anything with double letters, as per our guide on how to win at Wordle

There are two goals: Get as many correct letters in the right spots as possible and miraculously guess the word on the first try. Thus far, I've never accomplished the latter.

This morning, I make a slight change in tactics and look up a massive list of five-letter words to help jog my memory. I'm no dummy but I'm also not a dictionary. I can't start every Wordle with “FACES” (though I do love that as a starting point).  

I spot “BREAD” and immediately fall in love (who doesn't love bread?). This word has everything: Two key vowels, “E” and “A” and excellent consonants that can live anywhere in a five-letter word. Can you imagine if this is the moment I get Wordle in one?

Could've been worse

Surprise, doing this on a train with a spotty mobile broadband connection is as risky as starting your Wordle with a word that repeats two letters. Sadly, I lost the original 'BREAD” entry image, but can present the middling results here.

Getting two letters in the wrong spots on the first attempt isn't exactly a success story, but I like to focus not only on what I got but what's been permanently excluded.

I hate to see “A” go. There are so many good “A” words like “CHAIR” and “FAITH.”

The “R” is useful and knowing that it's not the second letter makes me think it could start or end the word.

Even so, with just two letters to work with, I think I will stick with my tried and true strategy of pulling in an entirely new set of letters. I need more material to work with.

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

Wild guess

I go wild and drop “YOUTH” in there like the risk-taker I am. It's a solid word with another pair of vowels and three consonants that all could work well with the “R” or “E.” I'm especially excited about the “R” possibilities. It could work right next to that “T” or at the end of a “Y” word.

Please don't judge me because I still refuse to use Wordle's Hard Mode. It's not that I don't think I could work each word with previously-guessed letters but it's that I know the majority of you are not playing in Hard Mode. Maybe someday.

Second word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Slow climb

Grabbing one more letter is, if we're being honest here, not a great result. Two chances in and I have three letters. There are a lot of words you could make with “R,” “E,” and “U.” It's actually good news that none of them are in the right place. 

I always take my time on the third turn. No sense in rushing to try a new word. I want to win in three. Can I see any obvious word combinations?

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

A long think

Having no “O” to go with the “U” or “A” to go with the “E” is throwing me a bit. I start thinking about “S” and “R” and where they might take me.

I always recommend putting letters into the Wordle game board to see how they look and if they work and fit in the five letters before committing (hitting Enter).

This is the trial and error phase of the game. 

As I'm thinking through word and letter combos, I start considering “P,” an excellent way to start a five letter words. I know that “R” won't follow “P” (it's been excluded from that position) but having a “U” and an “E”…I stop thinking.

The best parts of Wordle are those moments of pure inspiration. Literally “PURE” is where it started. I needed one more letter and my old friend “S” seemed like the perfect fit.

I type in “PURSE.” nNever have I believed in a word or Wordle guess more.

I hit enter.

Third word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Hubris, you are thy enemy

Third word result

(Image credit: Future)

In my defense, I cooked up “PURSE” on the train as we were pulling into the station. I then had to run uptown with the guess in my head, which only led to me believing even more feverently that I was about to solve Wordle in three.

Looking on the bright side, we now have four letters “P,” “U,” “R,” and “E,” but with only two of them in the right place. My love affair with “S” temporarily suspended, I look to see what raw materials I'm working with.

These are good letters and I believe there aren't too many combinations. At this juncture, it's critical to take stock of not only the letters you have but, based on previous work, where they can and cannot live on the board.

“P” cannot live in the first, second, or fifth spot, which “E” now owns.

“R” can't live in the second, third, or fifth spot.

This should be simple but I am now in one of those terrible Wordle loops where no configuration of the four letters leads to recognition.

I have a meeting in five minutes. I often tell people when they're Wordle stumped to take a break. Thinks might make sense in 10 or 15 minutes.

I try 'ERUPT” because that's what I'm about to do. It's a perfectly fine five-letter word, but I don't hit enter because that “T” simply cannot be there. “E” owns the last spot.

Not the word

(Image credit: Future)

Monetary gains

I'm not sure why I've chosen “RUPEE.” There's the double letter attempt (“R,” “P,” and “E” are all double-letter candidates) but with a truly oddball word that few would ever guess.

My confidence level right now is low. If I hit “Enter” and I'm wrong, I stumble into fifth attempt territory.

Fourth word

(Image credit: Future)

Son of a gun

I am more than a little surprised that “RUPEE” was the Wordle result. That guess managed to save me from Wordle in 5 or Wordle in 6 purgatory.

Just another reminder to always think outside the box and DO NOT FORGET DOUBLE-LETTER WORDS.

Until next time…

Fourth word result

(Image credit: Future)

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