Commission compromise on DMA messaging interoperability

More guerrilla democracy from LobbyControl, which has published a European Commission compromise proposal on messaging interoperability from the Digital Markets Act trilogue negotiations.

Some key functionalities are missing:

1.       Group chats and calls (including mixed groups with some participants on the gatekeeper platform and some on the others). These would be essential for this interoperability to work in reality.

2.       The ability to send:

a.       Attachments

b.       Emojis, GIFs, stickers – unless these are clearly specified to be within the definition of text/images/videos.

3.       It would be better if these were called “industry standard” rather than “basic” functionalities:

a.      The term “basic” could be used by gatekeepers to offer an inferior interoperable messaging service (e.g. basic text rather than Unicode, which supports multiple languages and emoji; basic images but not animated GIFs; etc.)

b.       “Basic” implies very limited functionalities. If the functionalities are too limited, interoperability may not happen in reality. You could argue that if the list of functionalities is broad enough, the term basic/industry standard may not matter. On the other hand, it may set the framework for any future proofing of the list under delegated acts. Although “industry standard” may not be a precise term, it should be possible for the Commission or BEREC to quite easily map what that means at any given point in time (as the UK CMA did for social networks).

The update possibilities:

1.       The addition of (ga) in Article 10 is meant to allow the Commission to extend the list of functionalities under delegated act. This would be good.

2.       What is Recital 78’s reference to Article X meant to do? Does this cut across Article 10? Is an interoperability obligation for social networks now excluded?