Google, Microsoft say they will not challenge EU’s designation of their services as ‘gatekeepers’, but other appeals likely on the way
Microsoft and Google have opted not to challenge the European Union’s designation of them as offering “gatekeeper” services under new digital rules that place interoperability restrictions on their services.
“We accept our designation as a gatekeeper under the Digital Markets Act and will continue to work with the European Commission to meet the obligations imposed on Windows and LinkedIn under the DMA,” Microsoft told Reuters.
A Google spokesperson said the company had also decided not to appeal the EU’s decision.
The bloc in September said it had designated 22 services run by six tech giants as gatekeepers that would face restrictions under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA).
Google operates the largest number of those services, including the Android mobile operating system, along with YouTube and its advertising services and mapping and search tools.
The rules would apply to Microsoft offerings including LinkedIn and Windows, the European Commission said at the time.
Other designated services included ByteDance’s TikTok, Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, Marketplace, and WhatsApp, Apple’s iOS, App Store and Safari and Amazon’s main shopping platform.
Companies have until 16 November to take their challenges to the Luxembourg-based General Court of the EU.
The Commission said at the time it opened market probes into whether Apple’s iMessage and Microsoft’s Bing, Edge and Microsoft Advertising should be designated as gatekeepers.
Google and the chief executives of Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange wrote to the Commission arguing iMessage should be covered by the rules and forced to be interoperable with other messaging services in order to “benefit European consumers and businesses”, the Financial Times reported last week.
“Through iMessage, business users are only able to send enriched messages to iOS users and must rely on traditional SMS for all the other end users,” the letter said.
Apple pointed to an earlier statement in which it said iMessage was designed for personal consumer communications, adding that the company looked forward to “explaining to the commission why iMessage is outside the scope of the DMA”.
The Commission is scheduled to reach a decision in those four investigations in February.
ByteDance and other designated companies are likely to file challenges, Reuters said, citing unnamed sources, while Bloomberg reported on Friday that Apple was likely to challenge its designation.