New EU law could require iMessage and WhatsApp to work with other, smaller platforms - NOT using proprietary, but hopefully interoperable standards instead
GadgeteerZA · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 25 March, 2022 - 13:24 · 1 minute
It's a great idea as WhatsApp, iMessage, and others are creating more and more fragmentation and walled gardens for users who have to install 10+ apps to message their friends elsewhere. But this why open (not insecure) interoperable standards exist in the first place.
Rather than letting each provider now go create their own API, this is the opportunity to ensure open standards exist for each technology so that everyone can reach others. If RCS is to be the open standard for messaging, then let iMessage and WhatsApp adopt that. That way a message from one app can reach users on iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram and more. Each app will still have its own UI and own bells and whistles that differentiate it from the others. As users, it will mean we are no longer locked into an app that prevents us from leaving.
Such data interchange standards do already exist such as XMPP, XML, RCS, and others. XMPP for example can enable encryption between the end-points so that need not be the issue here. Maybe this will also force the bigger players to help improve these interoperability standards.
It is quite clear that Apple, Facebook, and other big players had no intention of opening up interoperability with their competitors, and we can see already how this harmed consumers on both sides. It is therefore only likely that some legislation will achieve what BigTech has failed to do on their own. Clearly the few consumers that exercised their freedoms to leave platforms, had no real effect on the those running the platforms, so market forces were also not achieving any beneficial change for users (the lock-in effect for mainstream users was just too strong).