Microsoft argues Bing isn't big enough to make EU's gatekeeper list, says report

 EU flag with iMessage and Bing logos
EU flag with iMessage and Bing logos

What you need to know

  • Bing and iMessage might feature in the EU's list of gatekeepers, compelling them to conform to the DMA's rules.

  • The list of gatekeepers will be released on September 6, 2023.

  • Microsoft and Apple have disputed the inclusion of their services in the list, citing that their services haven't hit the set thresholds highlighted in the DMA.

  • Services in the EU's gatekeeper list will have six months to comply with the Digital Markets Act's rules.

Microsoft's Bing and Apple's iMessage are currently in the spotlight. Both companies are fighting hard to ensure their services aren't listed as “gatekeepers” under the new European regulations.

According to Financial Times, both entities have argued with Brussels that their platforms haven't attained the status or magnitude that warrants the restrictions of the Digital Markets Act. For those unfamiliar with this act, it's in place to promote healthy competition in the tech industry. It also plays a crucial role in regulating how user data and moderation are handled.

This new development precedes the September 6, 2023, publication of the first list of services regulated by the Digital Markets Act.

These changes will impact any platform with an annual turnover exceeding €7.5bn, a market cap above €75bn, and 45 million active monthly users in the EU. As such, the legislation will require these companies to share data, link to competitors, and ensure that their services are interoperable.

With this in mind, Microsoft argues that Bing hasn't hit these thresholds, unlike its competitor Google Search. Admittedly, recent reports show that Bing's market share has stagnated for the better part of this year, despite the debut of Bing Chat which significantly contributed to Bing attaining 100 million daily active users. Microsoft believes Bing's value will be negatively impacted if it's compelled to provide users access to rival search engines.

However, Microsoft can't use the same premise to dispute the inclusion of its Windows operating system in the list as a gatekeeper to avoid regulation by the Digital Markets Act. Microsoft won't argue about Windows appearing on the list, according to the report.

On the other hand, Apple shares the same sentiments as Microsoft, arguing that iMessage is yet to hit 45 million active monthly users and shouldn't be placed in the gatekeeper's list regulated by the Digital Markets Act. And while Apple hasn't disclosed iMessage's official number of active users, Financial Times has indicated that the number is close to a billion users.

Services and platforms in the EU's gatekeepers list will have six months to comply with the Digital Markets Act's rules.