Apple: Android version of iMessage would hurt us more than help

Several senior employees at Apple have confirmed that they do not want to make an Android version of iMessage, as doing so would remove an obstacle for users to switch to Android smartphones. This is evident from conversations that Epic Games had with the employees.

Apple’s senior vice president of software and services Eddy Cue says Apple could have created a cross-platform variant of iMessage, according to Epic Games legal documents, where users of both platforms could have seamlessly messaged each other. Senior vice president of software development and iOS boss Craig Federighi, however, saw little benefit in this. He said making cross-platform “would just remove an obstacle for iPhone parents to give their kids an Android device.”

Phil Schiller, director at Apple and executive of the App Store, would agree with Federighi. Epic Games cites an email from a former Apple employee, who said in 2016 that iMessage is the most difficult reason to leave the Apple universe. The app provides “serious vendor lock-in,” the employee wrote. Schiller responded that the email shows why a cross-platform iMessage would hurt Apple more than it would benefit the company.

Epic Games spoke to the Apple employees as part of the lawsuit between the two parties. The game developer tries to show that iOS monopolizes markets and that it is difficult to get out of the iOS ecosystem. The case started when Epic introduced its own payment system for Fortnite in August 2020 and Fortnite was removed from the App Store. The trial starts in a month.

With iMessage, Apple users can send messages, videos and audio files to each other, among other things. When iMessage users send a text message to a non-iOS user, it will be sent as a text message. Apple introduced iMessage in 2011, two years later, Apple would have decided not to make an Android version.

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