Fresh buzz in the air suggests that WhatsApp is spicing up its messaging game. A glimpse at 9To5Mac reveals that the app’s inner workings now contain hints of an upcoming third-party chat feature. Why, you ask? Well, it appears they’re hustling to get in line with Europe’s shiny new messaging rules. And guess what? Apple isn’t too thrilled about it.
You see, these rules could force iMessage to play by new antitrust regulations. Apple argues they don’t have enough of a fanbase in Europe to make them subject to these new laws, but that’s a debate for another day.
Beta treasure hunt
Peep into WhatsApp’s beta info, and you’ll find a not-so-hidden treasure: a menu labeled “Third-party Chats.” Found in WhatsApp Beta version 220.127.116.11, this signals the app’s efforts to comply with the EU’s new edicts. They’re weaving in chat interoperability support, and word on the street is that it’ll roll out in a forthcoming update.
Interoperability messaging sounds like tech jargon, but it’s actually a pretty nifty idea that could make our lives easier. The European Union is cooking up new rules to make sure your messages can effortlessly hop from one platform to another—think Google Messenger chatting with iMessage or WhatsApp bantering with Facebook Messages.
You might think, “Hey, doesn’t WhatsApp already do that?” Trust us, we had the same “Eureka” moment. We, too, tried shooting a message from an iPhone to an Android and were met with zero fireworks. But there’s more under the hood here.
A sneak peek reveals that WhatsApp’s engineers are hard at work crafting a dedicated window for this universal chat mingle. It’s all in a bid to get chummy with the EU’s fresh directives. You’ve got to give credit where it’s due; they’re hustling.
The DMA factor
Why all this fuss, you ask? Meet the Digital Markets Act (DMA)—the EU’s playbook aimed at leveling the field. It’s not just about letting the big boys play nice with each other; it’s about throwing a bone to the up-and-coming messaging apps. Yep, it’s the EU’s way of saying, “Let’s make this space equitable for everyone.”
The EU’s messaging maneuver could be seen as well-intentioned meddling or maybe something more. Could it be that the EU is specifically targeting Apple and others who have yet to jump on the RCS messaging bandwagon? Apple’s been acting like that one friend who refuses to join the group chat because it’s not on their “preferred app.”
And let’s not forget, even the UK, post its dramatic EU adieu, is trying to keep Apple on a leash. Is everyone just out to make Apple join the party, or do they have a point? Shouldn’t Apple have the choice to opt out of this digital kumbaya if it wants to?
Over the past months, the EU hasn’t just been making passive-aggressive tweets; it’s been taking some hefty swings at tech giants. We’ve got Chromebooks being banned in parts of the EU and a ringside seat to multiple legal showdowns involving Apple. And now, with the iPhone 15 set to debut tomorrow sporting a USB-C port (yes, finally, it’s 2023 after all), one wonders: Is the EU acting as a helpful nudge or just overstepping its bounds?
So here we are, still swapping texts between iPhones and Androids on WhatsApp, waiting to see how this saga unfolds.