The latest beta version of WhatsApp has seemingly added a new “third-party chats” screen which hints that the platform will be opening itself up to other platform compatibility soon.
The beta arrived just days after the European Commission gave Meta a deadline stating that the company has to open itself up to other third-party messaging apps by March 2024. The commission has described WhatsApp as a “gatekeeper” and must now comply with obligations under its new Digital Markets Act.
This Digital Markets Act is quite a big deal. It includes 22 services from companies such as Google, Apple, Meta and more. The European Commission aims to remove ecosystem locks across platforms by forcing companies to open up apps and operating systems. As a result, WhatsApp will be forced to take to iMessage and vice-versa.
The act will also see other companies release dedicated app stores on different devices. For example, you’ll be able to visit a Microsoft App Store on iOS and install apps directly from there. This will remove Apple’s exclusive hold it has on its own platform.
Of course, how WhatsApp will approach this new act is still uncertain. Meta is likely finding a workaround to open up WhatsApp to send and receive messages from other apps and platforms. Apple’s iMessage, for example, is also used to receive SMS texts. As a result, the European Commission hasn’t listed the app under the 22 services that need to comply.
WhatsApp will likely allow texts from other apps to congregate in the third-party chats tabs which means you’ll be able to access other conversations and reply to them. Of course, the tab in the current beta isn’t functional yet. It just serves as a placeholder for whatever is coming our way.
📝 WhatsApp beta for Android 22.214.171.124: what's new?
WhatsApp is working on complying with new EU regulations by developing support for chat interoperability, and it will be available in a future update of the app!https://t.co/XI6zMoOD5P pic.twitter.com/Jpd9Leh2Ki
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) September 10, 2023