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WhatsApp to support third-party chats as EU pushes for interoperability

WhatsApp's new feature is perceived as a reaction to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) of the European Union.

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Jan 25, 2024, 09:42 PM IST

WhatsApp
WhatsApp

Story Highlights

  • WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature.
  • The new feature would allow users to access chats from other platforms.
  • The move is seen as a response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature that would allow users to access chats from other platforms such as Telegram and Discord. The feature, which is hidden in the latest beta version of WhatsApp for iOS, was discovered by WABetaInfo.

The move is seen as a response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to curb the dominance of tech giants and promote fair competition in the digital sector. The DMA requires messaging services that are considered gatekeepers to ensure interoperability among different platforms. It aims to give users more choice and convenience.

WhatsApp is not the only messaging app affected by the DMA. Apple’s iMessage, which is exclusive to iOS devices, has also been under scrutiny by the EU for potential antitrust violations. Apple claims that iMessage is not a gatekeeper service, as it only has 45 million users in the EU, compared to WhatsApp’s 500 million. A recent report suggests that the European Commission may accept Apple’s argument, although a final verdict is yet to be announced.

If Apple manages to avoid the DMA obligations, it will not have to support third-party chats on iMessage. However, if the EU rules against Apple, iMessage will have to follow WhatsApp’s example and open up to other platforms. Apple has already taken some steps to improve iMessage’s interoperability, by announcing that it will adopt the RCS messaging standard, which is a more advanced version of SMS and MMS, by late 2024.

Apple is also preparing to make another major change to its iOS ecosystem, by allowing users to sideload apps from sources other than the App Store. This is another concession to the EU’s DMA, which prohibits gatekeepers from restricting users’ access to alternative app stores. Apple has long argued that sideloading would compromise the security and privacy of iOS users, but it seems that the company has decided to comply with the EU’s demands. The sideloading feature is expected to be available in March 2024.

Meanwhile, Apple has rolled out iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3 to users. This is a minor update, but it includes a new feature called Stolen Device Protection. This feature helps you protect your personal data if your iPhone or iPad gets stolen. It does not help you find your device, but it prevents the thieves from accessing your system.

 

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Author Name | Om Gupta

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